28 June 2012

Sudan: South Sudan Wants Closed Door Negotiations With Sudan to Progress

Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price
Abyei town, one of the disputed regions (file photo).

Addis Abeba — South Sudan offered Sudan direct 'closed door negotiations' without the presence of the African Union that is leading the negotiations in Addis Abaea. Contradicting the official statement of the African Union on Thursday, South Sudan said that Sudan did not want to discuss any of the topics presented in the 'Roadmap' as agreed by the AU and UN. South Sudan wants to bypass the AU moderators, by dealing directly with the Khartoum government.

In this proposal, Sudan and South Sudan will engage in direct negotiations. All disputed areas should be demilitarized and a joint administration in these areas will be established. Amum said 'arbitration or negotiations should then determine to which state the disputed areas belong'.

After the peace negotiations, led by the African Union (AU), failed to reach an agreement the talks were officially adjourned until the 5th of July. The Defense Minister of Sudan, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, said 'the most important thing of this round of negotiations was that it had put the delegations on the right track towards address ing and examining core issues'. He said his delegation needed to consult he president.

Abdelrahim said the Khartoum delegation is confident to 'get results as long as negotiations continue'. South Sudan, on the other hand, called on the international community to 'support a time bound arbitral process, over an open-ended negotiation process'. Despite this call Amum said South Sudan is hopeful that the consultations in Khartoum on his compromised proposal 'will be positive'.

Thabo Mbeki, head of the AUHIP, praised both countries for demonstrating 'great maturity and seriousness in their approach to the negotiations, mindful of the timeframes contained in the Roadmap and UN-security council resolution 2046'.

The delegations went back to their home countries 'for consultations' as the AU stated. Sudan said its delegation does not want to wait until the negotiations might resume on the scheduled 5th of July. The 'compromise-proposal' was presented by South Sudanese head of delegation Pagan Amum after the talks were officially adjourned.

The second round of African Union (AU) led negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan were adjourned today (Thursday) after six days of talks in Addis Ababa. The delegations could not agree on any pressing topics on the agenda such as a cessation of hostilities or a secured border zone. South Sudan offered Sudan a 'compromised proposal' in order to reach a peace agreement before the 2 August deadline as set by the United Nations Security Council.

Pagan Amum, head of the South Sudanese delegation, said in a press conference on Thursday the only reason for the delays in the negotiations is that 'Sudan has not accepted the AU roadmap as a basis for the establishment of the safe demilitarized border zone'. He added that the government of Sudan refused to negotiate all outstanding issues 'before the agenda of security is resolved to their satisfaction'.

According to Amum, the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) had not invited the two countries yet to start negotiations on these other unresolved issues. These issues include oil and related payments, the resolution of disputed areas, the status of nationals of the other state and the final status of Abyei.

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