21 January 2013

Sudan: UN to Hold Consultations On Sudan, South Sudan Relations

Khartoum/Juba — Members of the United Nations Security Council will, on Tuesday, hold consultations on relations between Sudan and South Sudan, in accordance with resolution 2046 adopted on 2 May 2012.

Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping is likely to brief the meeting that will focus on the recent round of negotiations between the two countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 12-19 January.

The two parties, the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) said, discussed security issues, the establishment of the Abyei Administration, and the adoption of a matrix to facilitate the implementation of the range of agreements between the two.

The issue in the agreements, reached in September last year, mainly focus on operationalisation of the buffer zone and the time table to implement all the agreed issues, including the exportation of South Sudanese oil.

Both Sudan and South Sudan, the AUHIP said in a communiqué issued at end of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) meeting on Saturday, had made "substantial progress", the parties themselves appeared less convinced that significant positive steps had been made.

The two parties, it added, adopted a detailed and time-bound implementation matrix covering all security issues; a matrix for processing security-related complaints and concerns of the Parties, which the Parties have started to use; and, the speedy establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ).

In particular, the JPSM, according to the Thabo Mbeki-led panel, agreed to operationalise the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). The meeting reportedly identified the location of the JBVMM temporary headquarters in Kadugli, Sudan, as well as the location of sector headquarters; one in each country.

"The JPSM also agreed to request the United Nations to increase the number of military personnel in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, providing protection the JBVMM border monitors," partly says AUHIP statement.

At the meeting, the two parties reportedly also declared that they have withdrawn all their forces from the disputed borders to either side of the SDBZ center line, while the JPSM, it added, held constructive discussions on the demilitarization of the "14-mile Area" (a section of the border) and remains seized of the matter.

South Sudan, however, said that it had not been able to agree with Sudan on how to operationalise SDBZ, adding that Sudan had made new demands regarding its level of representation in the proposed Abyei Area Council.

On the other hand, the Sudanese negotiating delegation, in a statement released Monday, accused Juba of hampering the activation of the buffer zone by refusing to withdraw its troops fully from Mile 14, a portion of and claimed by the two parties on the border between South Darfur and Northern Bahr El-Ghazal states.

Khartoum further said Juba refuses to disengage with the SPLM-North rebels and continue to harbour and support rebel groups despite South Sudanese commitments to stop it despite the signed agreements.

On Abyei, the delegation said disputed oil-producing region is a part of the Sudanese territory up to the time of organising a referendum, thus they want to get 50% of the seats in the legislative council, stressing that in the past they accepted that South Sudan holds 60% because they were one country and they wanted to promote the idea of "attractive unity".

According to the AUHIP, representatives of both Sudan and South Sudan on the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) would hold a special meeting in the disputed oil-producing region on 30 January, to deliberate on proposals relating to the police service in the area.

The president of Sudan and South Sudan met in Addis Ababa from 4 to 5 January, and they agreed on the implementations of the buffer zone as well as the establishment of Abyei institutions and the police force. They also directed that a timetable be set for resumption of the oil exportation.

They have to meet in the sidelines of the African Union summit 24 January.

However, instead of discussing the fate of Abyei region and the organisation of the referendum they seemingly have to decide personally on the difference over Abyei parliament.

They also to reach a compromise over the troops pulling out of Mile 14, after what they can set a date for the exportation of the South Sudanese oil through the Sudan.

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