Norway to blame for South Sudan war: AU

The African Union has blamed Norway for the civil war which broke out in South Sudan at the end of 2013, arguing that the country had inadvertently created "a politically unchallenged armed power" when it brokered the 2005 peace deal with Sudan.

Norway to blame for South Sudan war: AU
Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende after talks with President Salva Kiir in May 2014. Photo: Astrid Sehl / Foreign Affairs / NTB scanpix
The accusation, made in an as yet unpublished African Union inquiry leaked to the Reuters newswire, calls for the oil-rich nation to be placed under the direct control of the AU in an effort to end the war. 
According the report Norway, the US and the UK, the three countries who pushed for the deal had “ushered in an unaccountable political class” in the country, leading to the conditions which spilt the country's leadership apart eight years later. 
The civil war in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, started in December 2013 when the governing party SPLM split into two factions headed respectively by President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar.
At least 10,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million people displaced. The UN accuses both sides of grave human rights violations, including widespread rape, executions, and ethnic-based massacres.
According to the AU report, Norway facilitated Kiir and Machar’s ascent to power when they helped broker the peace deal between SPLM/A rebels and the Sudanese government in 2005.
The settlement brought long-time guerrilla fighters to formal recognition, paving the way for them forming government when South Sudan became independent in in January 2011.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende has not yet commented on the accusations, but called for the report to be made public immediately.
“I think that the investigation that the African Union has started and the commission’s position, it needs to be made public. “ he told Urix, a foreign affairs programme aired by public broadcaster NRK
The African Union has shelved the report on the request of Salva Kiir and Reik Machar. There are fears that its release could disrupt on-going peace negotiations in the Ethiopian capital Addis-Abeba. Despite a truce signed by Kiir and Machar, fighting has continued while peace talks carry on.


Sudan summons Norway envoy after vote protest

Sudan summoned Norway's ambassador on Tuesday to protest the country's harsh criticism of last week's elections, which are expected to give President Omar al-Bashir another term in office, as neither "free" nor "fair".

Sudan summons Norway envoy after vote protest
Norwegian ambassador Morten Aaslund meets the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. Photo: European Union.
Morton Aaslund on Monday issued a statement along with his counterparts from the UK and the US in which the three countries said they regretted Khartoum's "failure to create a free, fair and conducive elections environment."
In a statement summoning the ambassadors to Sudan's foreign ministry, Khartoum labelled the criticism "blatant interference in the internal affairs of the country."
"The elections are a purely Sudanese affair decided by the Sudanese, and no other party has the right to intervene or express an opinion," a statement said.
The European Union representative in Khartoum was also summoned, the ministry said, without giving details.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had said before voting began that the election could not produce a credible result, citing the ruling National Congress Party's failure to attend a meeting with the opposition to
arrange a national dialogue.
Bashir proposed the dialogue last January as a way to resolve the country's economic woes and the conflicts on its peripheries.
The foreign ministry said Sudan was committed to resuming the dialogue after the election results are announced and a new government is formed.
The polls for the presidency and state and national parliaments were boycotted by the mainstream opposition.
Thirteen little-known candidates are challenging Bashir, after two others withdrew after voting got underway, complaining of irregularities in the electoral process. Results are expected on Monday.
Bashir, 71, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western region of Darfur.