---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nuba Reports <i...@nubareports.org>
Date: Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 9:16 PM
Subject: Sudan Insider: Peace talks collapse again | Food insecurity in
Blue Nile | EU's anti-migration policy and Sudan
To: elisabethjana...@gmail.com

*Dear Readers,*

This is our *Sudan Insider*, a debrief from Nuba Reports
that highlights important developments in Sudan and what they mean. Here's
the latest:

   - Peace Talks Collapse Again <#m_4222758758769533173_Surge>
   - Food Insecurity in Blue Nile <#m_4222758758769533173_Student>
   - EU’s Anti-Migration Policy and Sudan <#m_4222758758769533173_Press>
   - Old Enemies, Pragmatic Friends: South Sudan & Sudan

This update is for you, so let us know what you think and how we can
improve by emailing us at i...@nubareports.org.

*Thank You,*
*The Nuba Reports Team*
*Peace Talks Collapse Again*
*What happened…*

   talks are meant to recommence in late September after talks collapsed last
   - On August 14, the African Union-brokered peace negotiations collapsed
   in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between the Sudan government and umbrella
   opposition group, Sudan Call.
   - The umbrella Sudan Call opposition in attendance included: the Sudan
   People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM-N) from the Nuba Mountains and
   Blue Nile State; two Darfur rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation
   Movement–Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) and the Justice Equality Movement (JEM); and
   the leading opposition party, the Umma Party.
   - In the case of the SPLM-N and government negotiations, talks collapsed
   over access points for humanitarian aid to war-affected areas. The SPLM-N
   eventually presented a compromise
   80 percent of aid comes across frontlines from government-controlled areas
   in Sudan, while 20 percent would come cross border from Asosa, western
   Ethiopia underSudanese government supervision. The government refused any
   aid emanating from a foreign country, claiming the aid could be misused to
   carry weapons for the rebel forces. Conversely, the SPLM-N opposed
   all aid originating from Sudan, fearing the NCP would block or manipulate
   aid deliveries as a weapon
   of war.
   - In the case of Darfur, negotiations broke down on August 14 after the
   rebels refused to reveal
   13 force locations as required by the government at the beginning of a
   cessation of hostilities agreement. The Darfur groups also objected
   to the government’s insistence on using the Doha Document for Peace in
   Darfur (DDPD) as the basis for negotiations. Neither of the rebel groups
   were signatory to the DDPD in the past, and maintained their current
   discussions over a cessation of hostilities had no relation to the July
   2011 document.
   - The African Union (AU) mediators released a statement
   on August 17 accusing the Darfur rebel groups of re-opening issues “that
   had previously been agreed and others which contradicted the Roadmap
   Agreement.” The AU further said the rebel groups refused “balanced options”
   in regards to the government request for the location of rebel fighters
   ahead of signing a cessation of hostilities.
   - Prior to the collapse on August 8, the main parties behind Sudan Call
   the AU-brokered roadmap
   agreement, a procedural document designed to assist the two warring parties
   reach a final peaceful solution. On March 19 during previous AU-brokered
   peace talks in Addis Ababa, the government and Chief Negotiator Thabo Mbeki
   signed the roadmap peace agreement while the opposition declined
   - The main parties of the Sudan Call refused to sign the document since
   the agreement excluded key opposition groups and would operate through an
   ongoing dialogue process, called the National Dialogue, that they claim is
   - Both sides have traded accusations
   for the collapse of the talks and, equally, both sides have claimed
   they are willing to resume
   the peace talks despite the foundered discussions. The U.N.
   Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also urged
   both sides to return to the negotiating table.

*What it means…*

The collapse of the latest talks, the twelfth attempt, may represent one of
the last attempts at peaceful negotiation for Sudan. In an address to
senior military officers on August 21, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir said
they would only “negotiate by force” if attempts at peaceful negotiation
failed this year.

The collapse of the peace talks may repeat this month if the AU continues
to use Thabo Mbeki as the chief negotiator. There is deep mistrust
especially among the Darfur rebel groups, regarding his neutrality
vis-à-vis the Sudanese government. Many of the rebel groups see his past
mediation in Darfur and the contested Abyei area both in 2011 as exemplary
of his bias towards the Khartoum.

Conversely, sources attending the talks claim the AU has lost confidence in
the multiple Darfur rebel groups to convey a singular, practical stance to
usher in peace. Often split on personal differences and individual power
and ethnic interests, factionalism
has dissipated the strength and mediator’s confidence in the legitimacy of
the rebel movements.

The political impasse over humanitarian aid access between the government
and SPLM-N is not a new debate. The Sudan government has denied aid access
emanating outside of the country since the conflict started in 2011,
harbouring deep suspicions
over aid routes being misused by the rebels for military purposes. The
government nominally supported a Memorandum of Understanding
between the SPLM-N, the AU, League of Arab States and the UN to provide
humanitarian access to war affected areas in 2011 but the document was
never implemented to date.

The government refusal to compromise over humanitarian access points in the
war-affected regions of the two areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states)
may remain a permanent position. Providing humanitarian relief to the
SPLM-N-controlled areas defies Sudan’s military strategy
to force civilians in rebel areas to relocate to government-controlled
regions through a war of attrition. Government forces have scaled up
offensives in 2016, targeting farmlands and market areas crucial for food
production and access.

Three other areas of contention for upcoming peace talks between the SPLM-N
and government involve disarmament, the status of the national dialogue and

Authorities insist the SPLA-N disarm
upon signing a cessation of hostilities agreement, while the rebels will
only agree
to a more gradual integration process with the Sudanese army before
considering disarmament.

The SPLM-N has reiterated repeatedly their refusal to participate in the
ongoing National Dialogue launched by Bashir in October 2014, claiming it
is factitious and government-controlled. SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir
Arman has, however, confirmed their willingness
to participate in a separate, evolved National Dialogue process. It is
unclear; however, whether the government will insist
on the SPLM-N joining the current dialogue taking place in Khartoum.

Finally, SPLM-N insists any peaceful solution must be national
nature rather than achieved on a case-by-case basis. SPLM-N has called for
a countrywide peace and political reform process involving all opposition
forces across the country rather than consecutive deals preferred by the
ruling party. The reason, according to SPLM-N statements, is their concern
that the government will manipulate the process if resolutions are not
national in nature and that agreements will be breached. The government,
however, argues the issues of conflict are diverse and cannot be resolved

With peace talks still in limbo, conflicts will continue in the two areas
and Darfur.
Poor harvests, meagre rainfall and the ongoing conflict in the Nuba
Mountains and Blue Nile may lead
to severe food shortages this year and potential starvation the next. In
Darfur, the U.N. estimates
people were newly displaced across the region in the first seven months of
2016, largely coming from the Jebel Marra area.

*Food Insecurity in Blue Nile*
*What happened…*

   - Mass displacement from the conflict
   erratic rains and extremely high market prices has lead to severe food
   insecurity in Blue Nile State and in cross-border refugee camps in Maban,
   South Sudan, according to humanitarian workers.
   - The Food Monitoring Security Unit’s July report indicates that over
   65,000 individuals in Blue Nile are facing severe food insecurity,
   especially in the payams (a term for an area smaller than a county in
   Sudan) of Yabus, Chali, Geissam and Wadaka. Humanitarian workers and news
   claim at least four people – two being children – have died of hunger in
   July alone.
   - While the conflict effectively came to a standstill in July in Blue
   Nile, depleted food supplies from poor harvests last season and extreme
   market price hikes has lead to severe hunger and further displacement. At
   least 120 people from Wadaka payam, for instance, were displaced in July
   due to a lack of food, according to the Food Security Monitoring Unit
   (FSMU) report. While rainfall is better than 2015, the 2016 conflict has
   displaced many from the most valuable agricultural land to areas of meagre
   yields, the report adds.
   - Reduced supplies, blocked trade routes and the devaluation
   of the South Sudan pound have all contributed to the escalating market
   prices in Blue Nile. The price of staple grains such as sorghum has more
   than doubled last year’s price in the rebel-controlled Yabus, Blue Nile.
   - Sudanese authorities have also reportedly hired Ethiopian militias to
   block Sudanese refugees from accessing refugee camps in Ethiopia. The
   Benishangui-Gumuz refugee camps in Ethiopia host
   close to 39,000 Sudanese refugees. The militias have blocked cross-border
   trade, severely affecting rebel-controlled markets, especially in Geissan
   and Yabus, Blue Nile State.
   - Food insecurity across the border in refugee camps in Maban, South
   Sudan, is similarly dire. A nutrition survey
   conducted in late 2015 found increased levels of malnutrition in all the
   Maban camps, especially Doro refugee camp. A 30 percent reduction in UN
   relief food rations and insecurity in South Sudan has reduced food supplies
   for over
   136,000 refugees, mostly women and children who fled the conflict in Blue
   - This situation is compounded with conflicts between the host community
   and Uduk tribe in Doro and Kaya refugee camps in Maban, South Sudan. The
   violence and limited food aid in these refugee camps has induced thousands
   of Sudanese refugees to return to the Blue Nile. According to interviews
   with Maban refugees, as many as 100 people have been killed in these
   conflicts since 2011.

*What it means…*

The violence between Sudanese refugees and South Sudanese host communities
has driven refugees back to Sudan and contributed to further food
insecurity within Blue Nile. FSMU estimates half of those returning to
Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance. The return of the refugees to
Sudan has further compounded meagre food supplies in Blue Nile. The
sporadic conflicts have also blocked humanitarian aid to the camps.

Insecurity related hindrances to humanitarian aid might worsen an already
fragile food security situation in the Maban refugee camps. This will
likely aggravate tensions with the host community and incur further
movement of the war-displaced to return to the conflict they fled in the
first place.

The government routinely uses
militias to fight the conflict in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. These
forces, sometimes in tandem with regular Sudan Armed Forces, are also used
to block
food supplies in both conflict areas in a bid to force civilians to
relocate to government-controlled areas.

This may be the key reason why the government negotiation team appears
to compromise humanitarian access points during the latest round of peace
talks in with the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa. Providing humanitarian relief
would completely reverse their military strategy in South Kordofan and Blue
Nile states – a war of attrition.

*EU's Anti-Migration Policy and Sudan*
*What happened…*

   August 25, Italy repatriated
   a group of Sudan nationals who attempted to cross the border at France. The
   Sudanese migrants were detained at Ventimiglia
   a border town near France, from where they were flown to Khartoum on a
   chartered *EgyptAir* flight.
   - This deportation was the first of its kind in Italy. Only last year,
   60 percent
   of Sudanese asylum seekers were granted humanitarian protection in Italy.
   - The forced deportation is the product of an agreement signed
   on August 3 between Sudan and Italy. While this agreement is designed to
   tackle means of curbing irregular migration into Italy, it remains vague on
   how such measures would be implemented
   - The UN Refugee Agency has expressed concern
   about the risk of returning people with protection needs back to Sudan.
   According to the organisation’s press officer, Carlotta Sami, it is
   imperative that the Italian authorities take
   into account individual refugee circumstances before forcibly returning
   them to their country of origin.
   - Italy’s repatriation of Sudanese migrants falls
   under the broader framework of cooperation between Sudan and the EU on
   migration issues. Sudan has existed as a major transit zone
   for migrants moving between East Africa and Libya to reach the southern
   tips of Europe. In April, European Development Commissioner Neven Mimica
   announced a €100
   million package, to support Sudan in addressing the root causes of
   irregular migration.

*What it means…*

Although the EU has claimed they are not
providing any direct aid to the Sudanese government, Sudan started an
anti-migration campaign on both its major migratory borders in eastern and
western Sudan soon after EU funds were announced.

In May, close to 1,000 Eritreans were reportedly rounded
up in Khartoum where they were either imprisoned or deported back to
Eritrea. A month later, Sudan also captured
Mered Medhanie, an Eritrean smuggler thought to be responsible for the
drowning of almost 400 migrants near the Italian island of Lampedusa in
2013. He was extradited back to Italy.

Last month the pro-government militia leader Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti”
claimed his Rapid Support Force (RSF) has been patrolling
the Libya-Sudan border in order to curb migration on behalf of the EU. In
July, the RSF claimed they had arrested
over 300 illegal immigrants who were heading to Libya across the Northern
State. And only in August, security forces in the North Darfur State
26 foreign nationals as they attempted to cross from Sudan to Libya.

The RSF is well known for its extensive human right violations
in the past. Formerly known as the “Janjaweed,” Khartoum repackaged the
militia in 2014
to work directly under President Omar al-Bashir and Khartoum’s security

The Janjaweed’s atrocities are well documented and led to the International
Criminal Court (ICC) issuing a warrant of arrest
against Bashir. The UN estimates that at least 300,000 people have died
since 2003 during the conflict in Darfur. Similarly, the RSF have harassed
and attacked citizens in Darfur and the two conflict areas, South Kordofan
and Blue Nile
states, since 2014.

Sudan is being supported to curb migration while the authorities may well
be the main creators of refugees. At the end of 2015, Sudan was the fifth
largest country of origin for refugees
according to UNHCR and between January and June this year, just under
5,000 Sudanese refugees fled to Italy. By consistently funding militia
groups like the RSF to fight rebel groups in Darfur and the Two Areas, it
is likely that more refugees will be forced to flee to Europe than in
previous years prior to the EU anti-migration policy.

*Old Enemies, Pragmatic Friends: South Sudan & Sudan*
*What happened…*

   - Political and economic relations between former rivals Sudan and South
   Sudan appear to be improving after a diplomatic charm offensive by the
   latter amidst internal turmoil
   within South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
   - Newly appointed Vice-President Taban Deng traveled
   to Khartoum on August 22 to meet Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir to
   discuss security, border arrangements and oil transaction issues.
   - One of the key assurances
   Deng gave Khartoum was an end to any perceived assistance to the Sudan
   People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile
   states. Deng said they would call on the SPLM-N to seek a peaceful
   settlement. “We advise them [SPLM-N] that wartime is over and we say to
   them that your brothers in South Sudan shouldn’t suffer because of you, for
   even if the South didn’t support you, Sudan is making use of that
   [pretext],” Deng said in news reports
   - In what appears to be a trust-building exercise, Deng also handed over
   a letter from South Sudan President Salva Kiir to Bashir during his
   Khartoum trip. In the letter Kiir expressed
   his commitment to implement all cooperation agreements signed between the
   two countries in 2012.
   - Following Deng’s request during his visit, Bashir pledged
   to deliver aid assistance to war-affected areas of South Sudan including
   Aweil, Renk and other areas in Unity and Upper Nile states. The assistance
   was meant to reach South Sudan before the 17th of September.
   - A separate meeting
   in Khartoum took place simultaneously with Sudan’s petroleum minister, Dr.
   Mohammed Awad, and his South Sudanese counterpart, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, to
   oil production resumption. The meeting included an oil agreement and plans
   to restore Al Wohda Oil field in Upper Nile after South Sudan’s oil
   production decreased to less-than-half of pre-conflict production levels.
   - Seemingly desperate to improve diplomatic relations, South Sudan
   turned a blind eye to Sudan providing
   medical treatment to former vice president and later rebel leader Riek
   Machar. Nor did South Sudan flinch after Sudan seemingly reneged
   on a prior agreement to allow South Sudanese national status within its

*What it means…*

This may be a turning point in Sudan – South Sudan relations after years of
reneged promises and a political impasse over past commitments. In
September 2012, both countries signed a series of agreements concerning:
oil, citizenship status, security, banking, border trade, among other
issues. Despite signing an implementation procedural agreement six months
later, the plans are yet to be executed.

The current ruling regime in Juba are desperate to maintain power amidst a
severe political and economic crisis driven by civil conflict and need
regional support to do so. Without Sudan’s support, South Sudan is cut off
from crucial oil revenue that constitutes
98% of the economy. Further, with little funds for armaments, Sudan could
potentially fund the opposition and oust the current clique in power.

The current leadership in Juba is facing increasing unpopularity
vis-à-vis the international community and seeks regional political support
to counter this trend. Despite Omar al Bashir harboring an International
Criminal Court warrant
for crimes against humanity, Sudan has received considerable international
support recently from the international community in return for alleged
support to curb
migration to Europe and counter

Although South Sudan’s support toward the Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement / Army –North (SPLM/A-N) in Sudan has been largely debated, recent
developments suggest the SPLM-N will receive no support from South Sudan.
It would appear, despite SPLM-N being former military allies to the SPLM
who helped South Sudan achieve independence in 2011, even political support
is not forthcoming.

South Sudan’s closer collaboration with Sudan may lead to an even tougher
stance toward those fleeing the fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile
states that have migrated to South Sudan. UNHCR, in collaboration with
South Sudan officials, already closed
the largest refugee camp, Yida, in Unity State. There are over 234,000
Sudanese refugees in neighboring South Sudan –the majority being from Nuba,
according to UN statistics.

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