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International Crisis Group
Sudan: Defining the North-South border
September 2010
The following policy brief concentrates on border demarcation issues that have deeply divided leaders of the GoS and GoSS. What is often referred as “post-referendum” issues such as oil-revenue sharing, citizenship and border demarcations have been the subjects of intricate, protracted negotiations between the NCP and SPLM. Demarcation issues however, have not. ICG has issued a number of practical recommendations aimed at avoiding conflict and finding adequate solutions to create a “soft” border allowing citizens to cross it for economic purposes (grazing, trade etc).
(…) The undefined boundary has hindered CPA implementation, fuelled mistrust between its signatories and, most recently, contributed to heightened anxiety and insecurity along the border. The governments in Khartoum and Juba alike rely heavily on oil revenues that derive primarily from the borderlands. The concentration of resources there has amplified the political and economic dimensions of an already contentious task. Both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have exhibited an aggressive military posture in some border areas. Also, many of the country’s transboundary populations – some of whom represent significant political constituencies – fear possible secession of the South could result in a hardening of the boundary and a threat to their livelihood (…)
(…) The NCP and SPLM, in concert with the UN and international partners, should: 
  • Recognise that resolution of the outstanding border disputes is no longer a technical issue, but a political one. As such, the national presidency – possibly through the recently established joint committee headed by Pagan Amum (SPLM) and Salah Gosh (NCP) – should assume full responsibility for achieving a solution (…) 
  • Establish a sensitisation and feedback mechanism to allow border communities to contribute advice and ideas directly to negotiations on cross-border arrangements (…)
  • Design one or more complementary border-monitoring mechanisms to support a soft and stable boundary, ensure the rights and responsibilities of border populations, and possibly monitor population movements and new security arrangements (…)

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