Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) USA Secretariat
April 22, 2012 – USA (SSNA) — On Friday April 20, 2012, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, announced an orderly and voluntary withdrawal of the South Sudan Armed Forces – SPLA, citing international pleas to give dialogue a chance. Because of this announcement, majority of our members didn’t understand the logic and want clarification. As such, the SPLM-USA Secretariat is hereby providing thee clarifications:
First and foremost, the Panthou takeover wasn’t premeditated. On April 10, 2012, SPLA repulsed an attack from Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), and as a result of a hot pursuit, they took control of Panthou. For purely defensive purposes and without prejudice to the status of Panthou – it belongs to the South; South Sudan declared that it will indefinitely stay in Panthou to deter further attacks until border demarcation or a third party takeover, whichever comes first. Due to the international outcry, South Sudan, the newest member of the world’s nations, was forced to rethink its defensive position, or else face series consequences. Because our existence was facilitated by these very people asking us to leave Panthou, the decision by our government to voluntarily leave Panthou was a no brainer.
We want to point out that your army – the SPLA, is in full control of Panthou as of April 22, 2012, which is the last day of the voluntary withdrawal. Despite our disappointment, we want to reiterate this decision has now put us back on track of dialogue and diplomacy and that we are fully behind it. However, we must remind the international community that the ball is now on its court and must use the same standard and ask Sudan to stop attacking us, immediately withdraw from Abyei and other contested areas or risk losing any credibility as an impartial body.
Finally, South Sudan government reiterated its willingness to return to the negotiation table to tackle the outstanding issues, but Sudan has to be a willing partner for this to happen.