South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Monday (December 31st) expressed his government's willingness to withdraw its army from the disputed border with Sudan.
This would be to help provide suitable conditions for implementation of the agreements reached in September in Addis Ababa. These included the resumption of oil production and the establishment of a temporary security zone along the disputed border areas. Both Sudan and South Sudan still have troops 10 km (6 miles) from each other's borders, and both accuse each other of supporting rebels on the other's territory.
President Salva Kiir said his government would temporarily withdraw its forces from the immediate border areas to allow for a demilitarized border zone to become operational. South Sudan's Information Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the withdrawal would have to be coordinated between the two countries.
A meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism is scheduled to take place on January 13th to discuss the issue of Abyei and the details of implementing a 14 miles demilitarized border zone agreement. A Presidential Summit is expected between the presidents of the two countries ahead of the JPSM meeting.
There are expectations that the presidential summit may take place on Friday January 4th in Addis Ababa.