Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, about the Sudanese government and the rebels opening peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia to end three years of fighting.
To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: What really is at issue when it comes to South Kordofan?
Azikiwe: Well there are a number of issues that are involved. The outstanding conflict between the various factions within the South Sudanese body politic is clearly a major force in these talks.
Also we have to take into consideration the fact that the former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been involved in mediation talks between the Republic of Sudan in the north and the Republic of South Sudan in the south based in the capital of Juba but all of these negotiations are very key.
Two elements are going to be crucial. One in South Sudan is the release of political prisoners. Seven political prisoners were released. These were top high-ranking officials from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) as well as the Republic of South Sudanese government.
They were released not inside South Sudan but they were released to the Kenyan government and in order to participate in the negotiations, they had to be flown from Kenya to Addis Ababa.
The second major issue is the involvement of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, the military apparatus from neighboring Uganda which played a critical role in bringing about the ceasefire on January the 23rd. The SPLM/A (the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army) in Opposition that is headed by ousted vice president Riek Machar is demanding all the Uganda military forces leave the country otherwise the ceasefire is going to be imperiled.
Press TV: Mr. Azikiwe, how much of an effect do you believe that external factors, I mean eternal beyond Africa and Western countries, etc. have in muddying the waters, if I may call it that, when it comes to solving such issues?
Azikiwe: Well the United States was one of the major champions of the partition of Sudan. Prior to their partition in 2011 they were the largest geographic nation-state in Africa. They were emerging as an oil producing state producing some five hundred thousand barrels of oil per day.
Since the country has been partitioned over the last two and a half years, the economies of both the Republic of Sudan in the north as well as the Republic of South Sudan in the south have suffered immensely.
In South Sudan the economy has virtually ground to a standstill. In the north because a lot of the oil is based in the south and because of this ongoing disagreements between the north and the south, their economy has been extremely strained as well.
So yes, the United States bears responsibility along the … [entity] of Israel because they were the main backers of the SPLA (the Sudan People’s Liberation Army) and they were calling for the partition of the country for many years.