28 December 2012

South Sudan: Sudan - South Sudan Presidential Summit to Take Place in Ethiopia

Photo: Isaac Billy/UN Photo
Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir,left, and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir. (file photo).

Addis Ababa/Khartoum — Sudan's president, Omer Al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, will meet in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs, Dina Mufti, has confirmed to Sudan Tribune.

The two leaders' decision to engage in a fresh round of talks comes after the new Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, visited the capitals of Sudan and South Sudan where he met the leaders of the two countries as part of the efforts to push ahead the peace process between the two neighbours.

"The Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to meet in Addis Ababa and the two leaders expected to arrive here on Friday next week," said Mufti.

However the official Sudanese news agency SUNA reported on Friday evening that the Ethiopian Prime Minister has extended an invitation to presidents Bashir and Kiir to meet in Addis Ababa on 13 January.

Juba and Khartoum singed nine agreements in Addis Ababa on 27 September, aiming to normalising their relationship after the independence of the South Sudan, following accusations of support to rebel groups and tense clashes over Heglig .

However the two parties did not implement the security arrangements after their failure to narrow the gaps between their positions on how to deal with the Sudanese rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

On the other hand the two parties failed to meet over Abyei referendum as provided in a decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council calling on the two sides to reach a compromise over a proposal the mediation had made.

Mufti said the two sides will discuss ways of implementing the previously signed agreements and the issue of the final status of Abyei area.

Mufti stressed that the issues of Blue Nile and South Korodfan states where Khartoum accuses Juba of supporting insurgencies will be high on the agenda at the summit.

The Blue Nile and South Kordofan states are believed to have been prime obstacles to implementing the cooperation agreement between the two countries but Mufti said he hopes that the two leaders will make a breakthrough over their differences during the presidential summit in Addis Ababa.

"There is equally goodwill between the two sides and we highly believe to witness a fruit full outcome from the upcoming summit," Mufti emphasised.

After meeting Bashir and Kiir, Desalegn said that both have assured him of their commitment to engage in substantive consultations during the presidential summit, to end the standoff on implementing the peace agreements.

Ethiopia has played a crucial role to facilitate the resolution of the outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan.

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