WASHINGTON — A South Sudan presidential adviser had been forced to leave Juba after the disclosure of a letter urging 75 officials to return some four billion dollars they are accused of stealing, a news report unveiled.
According to a report published on Monday by the American McClatchy Newspapers, an Ethiopian-American adviser to President Salva Kiir was forced to flee Juba fearing for his safety following the release of a letter sent to influential officials and individuals close to the government.
Ted Dagne, (L) late Congressman Payne and John Prendergast of ENOUGH at a meeting on Darfur crisis in 2008 (file photo Enough Project)
Ted Dagne, hired by the U.N. to advise Kiir on anti-corruption policy and international relations, played a key role in the preparation of the letter which was put public to embarrass the officials who are accused of stealing the four billion dollars.
On 3 May Kiir asked the 75 officials to return money they allegedly stole and offered amnesty if they deposit it at a foreign bank account.
However the letter, released one month later on 4 June, was contested by many officials who denied the accusation as some others openly disputed the 4 billion figure. The U.N. told the McClatchy it “is not familiar” with how the $4 billion figure was calculated.
Following his departure to Nairobi after the release of the letter, Dagne received a message from the South Sudanese president telling him that “he should remain outside South Sudan. Dagne later tried to return, but was refused entry,” the report said.
However the United Nations said he is still on contract with its mission in South Sudan.
Dagne who has been settled in Juba since January 2012 was named to the coveted position by the head of U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) the Norwegian Hilde Johnson who was closely involved in the peace talks between Khartoum and the former SPLM rebels.
The influential U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, supported the appointment of the former Norwegian minister at the head of UNMISS.
Dagne, and Rice, were together in a close circle of people who worked during the past years to mobilise American officials and Congress members to support South Sudanese cause. The group narrated in a long story published byReuters last July how they worked to achieve South Sudan independence.
The Ethiopian American researcher and activist told the U.S. newspaper group before leaving Juba that he was very frustrated by the extent of corruption, tribal wars and lack of development in the new nation.
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KHARTOUM – South Sudan has ordered 154 northern Sudanese nationals working for Chinese-led oil consortium, Petrodar, to leave its territories within 3 days, drawing Beijing once again into Juba’s conflict with Khartoum.
The news was announced from Khartoum on Tuesday by the official spokesman of Sudan’s Foreign Ministry, Al-Obaid Adam Marawih, who also revealed they were already engaged in contacts with South Sudan’s foreign ministry to discuss the possibility of sending a plane from Khartoum to take them back home.
Marawih pointed out that the Sudanese staffers were working for Petrodar in Fulug oilfield in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State.
The tension and military confrontations currently dominating relations between Khartoum and Juba can be traced back in part to their failure to agree on terms of using Sudan-based pipelines to export South Sudan’s oil.
China, which is the biggest investor in the oil sector on both sides of the border, was embroiled in the conflict despite its policy of balancing relations between Khartoum and Juba.
In February, as the oil dispute intensified with Juba halting production, South Sudan expelled the head of Petrodar, accusing him of complicity in Khartoum’s confiscation of southern oil.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is currently on a visit to China where he is planning to ask Beijing to fund an alternative pipeline for exporting southern oil.
Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir announced following the end of fighting with South Sudan’s army last week around the oil-producing area of Heglig that Khartoum will never allow the south to export its oil via Sudan again.
- S. Sudan Withdraws from Heglig, Damages Revealed (alethonews.wordpress.com)
KHARTOUM – The president of South Sudan Salva Kiir pleaded the case of his country with China saying that Khartoum has declared war on Juba as he started a five day visit to Beijing.
“It [this visit] comes at a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbor in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan,” Kiir said during his meeting with China’s president Hu Jintao.
“I have undertaken this visit because of the great relationship that I value with China. China is one of our economic and strategic partners,” Kiir added.
Last Friday, the Sudanese army managed to recapture the oil-rich region of Heglig after South Sudan occupied it for 10 days sparking the worst military conflict between the two sides since the country split into north and south in July 2011.
On Monday witnesses and officials in South Sudan said that Khartoum’s air force carried out bombing raids in Unity states that fell on a market in Bentiu.
The escalation comes as a reflection of the failure of Khartoum and Juba to settle through negotiations a number of key post-independence items and particularly the issue of how much the landlocked south should pay to transport its oil through the north’s pipelines.
China has been the largest single importer of oil from Sudan prior to the south’s breakup. The latter took 75% of the country’s oil when it seceded.
But earlier this year South Sudan suspended its oil production after Sudan started taking part of the oil as payment in kind to make up for what it called unpaid fees.
Last February, Juba ordered Liu Yingcai, the head of the Chinese-Malaysian oil consortium Petrodar, out of the country and accused him of not honoring the terms of reference of the memorandum of understanding which they signed in December.
The latest Chinese customs data show crude imports from Sudan fell nearly 40 percent in January and February compared to a year earlier.
China made a failed attempt last December to mediate between the two countries on the oil issue. Following that, Beijing remained largely silent while calling on Khartoum and Juba to continue dialogue.
But last week, Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir threatened to crush the “insect” government of the South, and said the time for talks was over.
The Chinese president appeared careful not to take sides on the Khartoum-Juba row and urged continuation of dialogue.
“The urgent task is to actively cooperate with the mediation efforts of the international community and halt armed conflict in the border areas,” Hu was quoted as telling Kiir during a meeting in Beijing.
“China sincerely hopes that South Sudan and Sudan can become good neighbors who coexist in amity and good partners who develop together,” Hu added.
Kiir and Hu witnessed the signing of several agreements between the two countries that cover humanitarian aid, solar energy and financial cooperation.
Gum Bol Noah,an official from Salva’s office, said China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) was willing to offer South Sudan technical support if Juba decided to build an alternative oil pipeline, making it less reliant on the pipeline running through Sudan.
Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin confirmed to Dow Jones China’s interest in financing the project.
“The Chinese are already there and we will continue with them, no problem” Benjamin said.
“Everybody will apply and we will see who has the capacity and who can generate a good consortium of companies to create money” he added.
Kiir attended the opening ceremony of the South Sudanese embassy in Beijing yesterday and will meet Vice-Premier Li Keqiang today.
- S. Sudan Withdraws from Heglig, Damages Revealed (alethonews.wordpress.com)
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Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has accused South Sudan of playing into the hands of foreigners by “choosing the path of war” as border tensions between the two neighbors keep escalating.
“Our brothers in South Sudan have chosen the path of war, implementing plans dictated by foreign parties who supported them during the civil war,” Bashir said on Thursday, referring to the country’s internal conflicts before South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July, 2011.
“War is not the interest of either South Sudan or Sudan but, unfortunately, our brothers in the South are thinking neither of the interests of Sudan or of South Sudan,” Bashir said.
The comments follow three days of heavy fighting between the two sides, in what some fear might lead to an all-out war.
Earlier on Thursday, Sudanese warplanes attacked a strategic bridge near the South Sudanese town of Bentiu.
On Tuesday, South Sudan seized the oil-producing border town of Heglig.
The take-over prompted Sudan to pull out of crisis talks led by the African Union. The talks aimed at resolving the protracted dispute with Juba over oil, border demarcation, contested areas and citizenship issues.
On Wednesday, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir threatened to seize the disputed oil region of Abyei on the border with Sudan if the United Nations failed to pressure Sudanese forces out of the area.
The African Union has expressed deep concern over the escalating security situation on the contested border, calling for a troop pullout from border zones and the resolution of the problem through peaceful means.
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