28 January 2013

Sudan: UN Chief Urges Sudan and South Sudan to Finalise Negotiations

Juba — The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday urged South Sudan to continue negotiations with Sudan, until both countries resolve their outstanding post-independence issues.

Ki-moon made the remarks at a meeting he held with South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the implementation of the 27 September 2012 agreements signed between Sudan and South Sudan; status of the negotiations on the outstanding issues between the two countries, as well as the economic and human rights situation in the new nation.

The UN chief told Kiir to continue engaging Sudan in the talks in order to ensure implementation of the agreements, and further stressed the importance of setting up the Abyei area administration, according to a statement.

On Saturday, while addressing the African Union (AU) summit, Ki-moon said both Sudan and South Sudan have taken "positive" steps to resolve outstanding issues.

"But they should make more progress in meeting their agreements," he added, further expressing concerns about the "dangerous" humanitarian situation in Sudan's Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

"I call on the authorities in Sudan and South Sudan to immediately begin direct talks to allow urgently needed humanitarian assistance to reach affected civilians," partly reads the statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

The UN chief said the international community is also concerned about an increase in human rights violations, including sexual violence in the two countries.

In a meeting held in Sunday in Addis Ababa, both Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Omer al-Bashir, said they remain committed to the implementation of the cooperation agreement.

The meeting, organised on the sidelines on the AU summit in Addis Ababa, follows the failure by the two parties to reach a compromise on the implementation of a security deal, reached at a previous meeting they held last week in the Ethiopian capital.

The two sides also failed to establish local administrative bodies for the disputed oil-producing Abyei region.

However, both presidents Kiir and al-Bashir, told the AU summit they remain committed to implementing the cooperation agreement and to observe the outcome of the AU Peace and Security Council (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, with the AUSPC opting not to refer the issue of Abyei to the UN Security Council (UNSC), preferring instead to keep the issue within the AU.

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