The African Union has urged the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to immediately start negotiations on the Final Status of the contested Abyei region.
In a communiqué issued after a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council to discuss the relations of Sudan and South Sudan on Friday (December 14th), the Council noted with concern the non-implementation of the various agreements reached in September and reminded the two governments of their responsibilities to implement these and the security arrangements under the Joint Political and Security Mechanism.
The Council welcomed the willingness of the two presidents to meet and encouraged them to hold a Summit as soon as possible in order to remove "bottlenecks on all lending issues, including those relating to Abyei and the border." The Council reiterated that the AUHIP's Proposal for the Final Status of the Abyei Area was a fair, equitable and workable solution. It noted that the deadline for negotiations on the issue had been December 5th and it called urgently for these to take place. It has been reported that Sudan's Foreign Minister, Ali Karti, has requested the Peace and Security Council to extend the deadline for negotiations and refrain from referring the case to the United Nations Security Council.
The Peace and Security Council has repeatedly warned the two countries that if they fail to resolve the Abyei issue it will pass the case back to the UN Security Council. In its communiqué, the Council referred determination on the issue of the Final Status of Abyei to the meeting of the AU Heads of State and Government to be held on the margins of the AU Assembly in Addis Ababa next month. The Peace and Security Council also urged the Parties to continue cooperation with the Team of Experts on the Five Disputed Border Areas and resolve outstanding issues. It expressed regret that the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North had failed to open direct negotiations, and called on both parties to implement modalities for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.