Sudan: Talks Focus On Cessation of Hostilities and Border

Photo: Paul Banks/UNMIS
Displaced by conflict.

Khartoum — Sudan and South Sudan delegations started Monday the long awaited discussions on the implementation of security agreements they signed. In their first days, the two parties agreed to focus on cessation of hostilities and border issues.

The delegations led by defense ministers of the two countries meet at the level of Joint Political and Security Mechanism after threats of sanctions by the UN Security Council, if they fail to reach agreements on the disputed issues with three months.

In accordance with an African Union road map, Monday's meeting has to discuss the implementation of deals including the Agreement on Border Security and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) of 29 June 2011, the Agreement on the Border Monitoring Support Mission of 30 July 2011, the decisions of the JPSM of 18 September 2011, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Non- Aggression and Cooperation of 10 February 2012.

The discussions of the Agreement on the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area of 20 June 2011 are expected to start on 7 June with the presence of delegations of Dinka Ngok and Misseriya tribes.

At the opening session the meeting adopted its agenda and discussed extensively the cessation of hostilities and the unconditional withdrawal of troops as defined in the UN Security Council resolution 2046.

The commitment to cease hostilities requires determining the boundary between the two countries so that it can be established on clear bases, said Omer Dahab, spokesperson of the Sudanese delegation, in a statement to the official SUNA.

The two parties have to continue negotiations on Tuesday on the two issues as they ended their meeting late Monday night.

Khartoum delegation demands the withdrawal of Sudanese rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N) to South Sudan saying the troops who are fighting its army now in Blue Nile and South Kordofan are part of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA).

Juba, on the other side, insists they are Sudanese and no longer have any link with the Independent South Sudan. Juba further asks to complete the implementation of a protocol related to their regions included in the 2005 peace agreement and to hold direct talks with them.

The meeting was chaired by Thabo Mbeki, the head of the AU high level panel for Sudan, along with mediation team members presidents Abdusalami Abubakar and Pierre Buyoya.

The issue of a map for the border between Sudan and South Sudan prepared by the mediation is expected to delay the talks as Sudan rejects this map saying it includes a location called "14 milles" which Khartoum says it is added by the mediation as disputed area.

On the other hand, South Sudan says Khartoum did not withdraw its troops from Abyei and continue to bomb inside the new country.

Nhial Deng Nhial, told reporters at the venue of the talks in Addis Ababa that Sudan failed to "comply with the conditions laid out in the AU ceasefire plan, which were endorsed by the United Nations, the AFP said.

Also Pagan Amum the head of South Sudan negotiating team accused Khartoum of continuing to carry aerial bombing without elaborating.

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