27 December 2012

South Sudan: Ethiopian Prime Minister Visits Juba for Talks With President Kiir

Juba — The new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn visited Juba, the South Sudan's capital Thursday where he held a closed door meeting with President Salva Kiir in the state house.

The visit was the first of its kind by the new Ethiopian Prime Minister since he took office about five months ago when he replaced the former Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, who died of illness.

Before he flew to Juba, Desalegn was in Khartoum where he held talks with President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir over the staled implementation of the Addis Ababa cooperation agreements signed by Khartoum and Juba on 27 September.

In a statement to the press after the meeting, south ruling party (SPLM) Secretary General, Pagan Amum said the Ethiopian Prime Minister came to Juba to try to "remove the obstacles" hindering the implementation of the cooperation agreements with Sudan.

Following his visit to Khartoum last week to try to come to terms with his Khartoum counterparts, Amum, also South Sudan' lead negotiator in the African Union sponsored talks in Addis Ababa with Sudan, regretted the new intransigent position Khartoum had adopted by renegotiating and refusing to implement the agreements including the resumption of oil flow.

He urged his country to not only dwell on the fate of the cooperation agreements, but also look for implementation of other alternative routes through which to transport the oil from South Sudan to the international market.

However following the Thursday meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Amum sounded optimistic that the new approach to organize a summit soon between the president Bashir and Kiir may bear fruits and revive the implementation of the cooperation agreements.

The Sudanese president stated yesterday his readiness to meet with his South Sudan counterpart everywhere and at anytime. However, it is not clear whether Bashir will come to Juba or the meeting will be held in Addis Ababa or Khartoum.

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