26 January 2013

Sudan: No Progress in Bashir Kirr Meeting Over Sudans Issues

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Abandoned buildings in Abyei: One of the areas disputed by the two countries.

Khartoum — Presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir failed to achieve tangible progress in the stalled talks between Khartoum and Juba over Abyei, and disputed areas as well as oil exportation.

The meeting, which took place before a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), was initially planned to discuss the final status of Abyei as in their previous meeting it had been agreed to activate the buffer zone and form Abyei institutions.

With the failure of the two sides to implement these decisions, the two leaders repeated the positions of their delegations in a meeting attended by the chief mediator before to head to the AUPSC summit which had to discuss and decide over the disputes between the two countries.

Speaking at the AUPSC meeting the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir called on the presidential gathering to decide on the conflicts between the two neighbours, stressing that endless discussions with Khartoum would not yield any result.

"If there is to be progress, the cycle of negotiation cannot continue indefinitely. We must shift from rhetoric to action," he told the high level security meeting which has to decide whether or not it will refer the disputed issues to the U.N. Security Council.

"We have exhausted the issue of Abyei for seven years. This issue does not require further negotiation but rather swift adoption and implementation of the AUHIP proposal," he further stressed.

Since the signing of the 27 September Cooperation Agreement, the two parties have failed to operationalise the demilitarised zone, because of the Sudanese rebels issue but also because of the disputed Mile 14 area.

Sudan says the South Sudan proposes to withdraw its troops only from 120 kilometres of the 200 kilometres area of Mile 14 which located between East Darfur state and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal.

Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti told SUNA that the South Sudan does not intend to recognise these 80 kilometres as disputed zone because they intend to maintain their troops there.

"It was clear for the African mediation that the South Sudanese position is a new development," he further added.

The minister further said the meeting between the two leaders did not discuss the final status of Abyei because the parties did not yet implement the signed agreements, alluding to the formation of Abyei Legislative Council as the parties continue to diverge over the percentage of seat allocated to each side.

He went further to accuse "some people from Abyei area" of aiming to hamper the implementation of other agreements by focusing only on Abyei issue.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma the chairperson of the African Union Commission told the AUPSC meeting on Friday 25 January that the "situation in Sudan and South Sudan poses a particular set of challenges to Africa" on issues related to diversity in a united continent and neighbourliness and mutual viability.

She further underlined that the implementation of the signed agreement remains a source of "great concern" and called on the AUPSC to call for the implementation of the bilateral deals.

"It is my hope that this Council will call on the two states to urgently and unconditionally implement all aspects of the agreements which were mutually acceptable compromises on both sides."

On Sunday the African leaders will start their annual ordinary meeting which seemingly would be dominated by the recent developments in Mali as well as other issues of Somalia and Sudan - South Sudan .

No details are yet available on whether a resolution on the outstanding issues will be announced Sunday or not.

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