28 January 2013

Sudan: Bashir, Kiir Commit to Implementing Agreement

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

Khartoum — Sudan and South Sudan presidents committed themselves to implement the cooperation agreement they signed in September of last year following a meeting held with several African leaders in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir took party in a meeting organised by the Ethiopian prime minister on the sidelines of the African union summit in Addis Ababa attended by presidents of South Africa, Cote d'Ivore, Nigeria on Sunday 27 January four months after the signing of the Cooperation Agreement.

The meeting was organized following the failure of the two parties to reach a compromise in the implementation of a security arrangement deal in a meeting they held last week in Addis Abab. Further, the two sides failed to establish Abyei local bodies.

Before their Afriacn counterparts, the two leaders vowed to seek seriously to implement cooperation agreement and to observe the outcome of the AU Peace and Sceurity Coucil (AUPSC) meeting held on Friday 25 January at the level of heads of states and governments.

The meeting aimed to put pressure on the two sides, as the AUSPC opted to not refer the issue of Abyei to the U.N. Security Council and preferred to maintain it at the African Union.

The regional secruty body, in a statement release on Saturday, expressed concern over the persistence of differences in the implementation of the cooperation agreement, and underscored the different interpretations of the signed deals.

Besides the constant difference over, Abyei, and relation of the South Sudanese government with the repel SPLM-N, the two countries showed recently divergent points of view over the troop withdrawal of Mile 14 , a disputed area on the common border.

UN Sceratry General Ban Ki-moon, in a speech at the opening session of the African Union meeting said the two neighbours " have taken positive steps to resolve outstanding issues. But they should make more progress in meeting their agreements".

He also called on the Sudan and South Sudan to engage talks on the "dangerous" humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States and to agree on ways to ways to reach the affected civilians in the tws states.

Sudan refuses to provide the SPLM-N held areas in the two regions with humanitarian assiatnce from South Sudan or Ethiopian as the rebels have proposed.

On Sunday also President Bashir discussed the on goning process between Sudan and South Sudan with the chief mediator Thabo Mbeki who works since 2009 to finalise peaceful settlement of the differences between Khartoum and Juba.

In a statement to the official SUNA, Mbeki said that the meeting was part of the continued consulations with the two presidents Bashir and Kiir over the implementation of the agreements the two countries signed.

The mediator met also with the South Sudanese president to discuss the same issues.

In Khartoum, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) reiterated that Juba has to cut its ties with the Sudanese rebels before to allow the exportation of its oil through its territory.

However, it stressed Sudanese government commitement to continue talks on the disputed issues within the African framework and reaffirmed its rejection of foreign prerssures to allow the exportation of the South Sudanese oil.

NCP spokesperson Badr Al-Deen Ahmed Ibrahim expressed hopes that the six-month period given to the mediation by the AUSPC would be enough to overcome the obstacles hampering the implementation of the cooperation agreement.

Ibrahim also rejected British conditions to write off it debts to Sudan. He said Khartoum signed deals with Juba without "dictates or blackmailing", adding that thoses who appreciate his government's efforts should support Sudan without conditions.

The NCP official was reacting to statements by Brithish minister for International Development, Lynne Featherstone, who was in Sudan last week. Before to leave the country on on 23 January, she urged Sudan to enforce the signed agreements with South Sudan, to end harassment of civil society groups and alow more freedoms in the country.

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InFocus

Sudans' Leaders Commit to Peace Deal

Abandoned buildings in Abyei: One of the areas disputed by the two countries.

Following a meeting with several African leaders, the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have vowed to seriously seek to implement the cooperation agreement they signed in ... Read more »