The Peace and Security Council has decided to extend the mandate of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) which is mediating between Sudan and South Sudan until the end of July.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir met in bilateral discussions together with the chairman of AUHIP, former South African president, Thabo Mbeki in advance of Peace and Security Council meeting which they both attended.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mme Dlamini Zuma said President al-Bashir and President Kiir had been courageous in reaching agreements and it was vital that "we encourage them to remain steadfast in their search for peace, security and stability, in the interests of their citizens".
After the bilateral meeting, South Sudan's lead negotiator at the talks, John Luk Jok, said the two Presidents had exchanged friendly New Year greetings, adding "We are doing well. There is no agreement yet, but there is a good progress."
The bilateral presidential meeting came after a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Committee earlier this week in Addis Ababa failed to make progress. The two sides have been unable to reach consensus on several issues including the formation of a joint legislative council in Abyei,