By Matthew Lerichie
Sudan’s former president was central to South Sudan’s latest peace process. Elites in both countries may sense opportunity in his absence.
Sudan and South Sudan need stability for oil revenues to flow, but the politics of both countries are more complicated than that.
One of the last things Omar al-Bashir did before he was ousted on 11 April was to oversee South Sudan’s latest peace deal. The then Sudanese president stepped in where most in the region and international community had given up and, in September 2018, shepherded in the Revitalised Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.
With the support of allies such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, al-Bashir used resources and his influence on various armed and opposition groups in South Sudan to broker a deal. Although the resulting agreement is acknowledged to be replete with flaws, it is a deal nonetheless, and there has been relative stability since its signing.
That’s not to say, however, there has been much progress on its implementation. Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), is still refusing to return to the capital Juba and help set up the transitional government, which is supposed to be in place by 12 May. President Salva Kiir meanwhile has said he will form the government with or without Machar. The stage seems set to repeat the deadly mistakes of 2015
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