27 December 2012

Sudan: Bashir Says Ready to Meet Salva Kiir 'Any Anywhere and Anytime'

Khartoum — Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir said ready to meet with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir to speed up the implementation of the cooperation agreement he signed wiyh him in Addis Ababa on 27 September.

Al-Bashir made this remarks after a second meeting he held with the visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Khartoum on Wednesday evening to discuss the implementation of nine agreements they negotiated in Addis Ababa.

Speaking to the media, Bashir said he is ready to meet with Salva Kiir "anywhere and anytime" to accelerate the implementation of the Addis Ababa agreement at the same time in its different fields.

Bashir further said the Ethiopian Prime Minister will pay a visit to South Sudan on Thursday bringing "the same message and we assured him our willingness and determined desire to implement what has been agreed and we are fully prepared to meet Salva Kiir anywhere and anytime," he stressed.

The African union peace and security Council on its meeting of 14 December, encouraged the two presidents to convene their summit "in the shortest possible time, in order to remove bottlenecks on all pending issues, including those relating to Abyei and the border".

In Juba, South Sudanese minister of information and government spokesperson Barnaba Marial Benjamin said in Juba Wednesday that his government was still committed to peaceful dialogue with Sudan and remains ready to receive the Sudanese president either in Juba or in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for further talks on post-independence issues.

The South Sudanese government is "still committed to peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues" through dialogue, Marial said, giving the example of Kiir's visit to Khartoum in November 2011 and his invitation for Bashir to pay a return visit.

Bashir has not visited Juba since South Sudan declared independence on 9 July 2011 as his planned visit in April this year was scuppered by the fighting over the Heglig/Panthou oil region.

The failure to implement the security elements of the deal has meant that South Sudan has not been able to recommence oil-production as it relies on pipelines and infrastructure in Sudan to export its crude.

The oil dispute which has lasted almost a year, severely damaging the economies of both countries.

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