By Kuot Wol Wol / Canada
White House’s Statement on the Attack on South Sudan by Sudan
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
April 23, 2012
(Gurtong Edited and posted) -“The United States strongly condemns Sudan’s military incursion into South Sudan yesterday and calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of all Sudanese armed militia from South Sudan. We welcome South Sudan’s withdrawal from Heglig, and we urge that South Sudan complete a total withdrawal of all South Sudanese armed forces deployed across the January 1, 1956 border.”
Based on the White House’s statement, USA believes that the disputed area of Panthou is part of Sudan according to the border of Jan 1st, 1956. The border dispute confusion had led Sudan to defeat South Sudan in UN and AU diplomatically, although SPLA won the battle on the ground. The diplomatic outreach of South Sudan is a hard job which needs to be carried out by our Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial and our Ambassadors worldwide. That correction may prevent sanctions and more pressures from international community on South Sudan if we decided in the future to retake Panthou back by force as Dr. Riek said on South Sudan TV that “Should Khartoum continue its aggression we may change our mind.”
We should not fight to go back to Panthou again to lose lives of our gallant soldiers before we strengthen our positions internationally in terms of diplomacy. We want to regain Panthou for the final time without withdrawal forever. If there’s no guarantee for that, it would be better for us to go to the international arbitration without any military action.
Our position in the court would be very weak as I think, because of our leaders' mistake when they had accepted in 2005 the International Experts Report which said that Panthou and other areas of Panruu are parts of Eastern Abyei. That's why we lost them in Hague in 2009; because South Sudan's (SPLM) officials had agreed that these areas of Unity State are part of Abyei while North Sudan and court are aware that these areas belong to South Sudan based on 1956 border.
South Sudan had refused to claimed its areas from Abyei before going to the court in Holland, therefore court decided to take these areas from Abyei without saying that they belong to North Sudan or South Sudan, which means that Sudan has the right to say they are parts of its territory, because it has regained these areas from Abyei of South Kordofan not from the Unity State of South Sudan. International community should not be blamed in its full support to Khartoum because it is supporting Hague arbitration.
The second international arbitration on Panthou and other areas would be a tough challenge for South Sudan to retrieve them back to its sovereignty. In my opinion, Abyei of Ngok will rejoin South but we are about to lose Panthou, aliny and other Panruu areas because of our leaders' mistake when they had accepted the International Experts Report on Abyei's border without reservations. We have no full right now to reclaim these areas according to what international community knows currently about these contested areas of Panruu Dinka.
My question is who we should blame now? And who would be responsible for the lost areas of Panruu Dinka? Should we blame Abyei leaders in SPLM because they declined to say Panthou is not their area? Should we blame Unity State leaders (Riek Machar and Taban Deng) because they were representatives of Unity State during peace talks in Kenya and they had kept quite to say Panthou is their land in Unity State? Should we blame Dr. Riek himself because he led the South delegation to the International Court on Abyei without pointing out his fingers on the map to say that Panthou has to be removed first on Abyei's map and has to be relocated in its right land (Unity) before the court started to resolve the Abyei's issue as Dr. Lam Akol’s article has quoted last week? Should we blame all SPLM leaders starting from our late leader John Garang and our current President Salva Kiir, because they had accepted the 2005 Report on Abyei without any reservations? We may blame all of them for their responsibility which made Panthou and other areas to disappear on the map of the Republic of South Sudan.
The criticism cannot help us currently to retrieve our lost areas of Panruu Dinka. What these leaders of SPLM would do in the future if we lost Panthou and other areas forever, is to convince the Community of Panruu and South Sudan people to explain clearly the logical causes for losing the land to the North Sudan, otherwise they will face the consequences of their poor action on 2005 Report.
Panruu Dinka are good fighters as the Ngok Dinka of Abyei since the liberation period up to now. It’s a shame for all of us as Southerners if Panruu people become the victims of our liberation and our independence. We have to liberate their land as Abyei would be liberated when its referendum would be taking place in the future. God may help us to retake Panruu areas and Abyei as we took our land South Sudan last July 2011 from our enemy’s sovereignty. Panthou of Panruu belongs to South Sudan and any justifications from international community and our leaders would not be accepted.
The author of this article is a South Sudanese citizen who lives in Calgary, Canada