Sudan: China Plays Both Sides


September 4,2008: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has been increasingly pursuing its own regional foreign policy. Now China is solidifying its political relationship with South Sudan. China is opening a consulate in South Sudan's capital, Juba. On September 1, a senior Chinese foreign ministry officer met with the president of South Sudan (who is also the First Vice President of Sudan). Now a consulate is not an embassy, but China may be looking toward 2011 when the referendum promised by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement is supposed to take place. South Sudan could become a separate country. Yes, it would have oil.

September 3, 2008: The Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Minnawi faction has opened a new political front in its war with the government of Sudan. The SLM announced that it will back South Sudan's leader, Salva Kiir, in the next presidential election (scheduled for July 2009).

September 2, 2008: UNAMID forces in Darfur depend on truck convoys to bring in basic operating equipment. The last major UNAMID support convoy collected at El Obeid (capital of North Kordofan state). El Obeid is in central Sudan - meaning that UNAMID relies on the Sudan government (the chief prosecutor of the war in Darfur) to allow it to receive equipment. From El Obeid the convoy travelled around 600 kilometers to reach the UNAMID forces deployed in Darfur.

August 27, 2008: Hijackers took control of an airliner that took off from an airfield in south Darfur. The plane was supposed to fly to Khartoum but was diverted to the Libyan oasis of Kufra. The passengers were released in Kufra

August 26, 2008: UNAMID reported that a Sudanese security force (likely a police unit) raided the Kalma refugee camp (South Darfur). At least 30 people died in the attack. Sudan said that the security personnel were "looking for suspects." The Sudanese government is also building a base near the camp. Rebels often use refugee camps as rest and recuperation areas.

August 24, 2008: UNAMIS (UN Mission in Sudan) police trainers are conducting a ten-day long training program for a special joint police unit in the town of Abyei (which lies in the oil-rich zone disputed by Sudan and South Sudan). UNAMIS is the peacekeeping force created after South Sudan and Sudan signed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The joint police unit has 63 Sudanese policemen and 105 members of the South Sudan Police Service.

Abyei isn't the only problem area. The situation in the Nuba Mountains remains unstable. The Nuba Mountains are a "transitional area" that is part of Sudan (ie, north Sudan) has been promised local autonomy.



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