28 January 2013

Sudan: Govt Rules Out Referral of Disputed Issues to UN

Khartoum — Sudanese officials ruled out a referral to the United Nations security Council of Differences with Juba over the outstanding issues after the independence of South Sudan and accused foreign powers of pushing the latter to seek such option.

Speaking to the press following the return of president Omer Al-Bashir to Khartoum from Addis Ababa on Monday, the Sudanese chief negotiator Idris Abdel-Gadir ruled out the referral of the disputed issues to the Security Council even after the end of next July.

He further predicted to extend the mandate of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan and South Sudan after the end of the current term.

The African Union Peace and security Council (AUPSC) in a meeting held at the level of heads of states and governments on 25 January declined to follow a demand by the South Sudanese president to refer the disputes with Khartoum to the Security Council as it was considered previously.

The meeting further decided to extend the mandate of the AUHIP until 31 July 2013 and asked it to submit a final report "on all matters within its purview since its establishment in October 2009".

The Sudanese state minister at the presidency reiterated his government's commitment to hold a referendum in Abyei area in line with a protocol agreed with the South Sudanese former rebels in 2005.

He said his government is willing to consider another option, if the South Sudanese government seeks another solution over Abyei. Adding that the mediation speaks about the need to think about other options instead of the referendum.

The two sides failed make progress on the issue of Abyei since the signing of the peace agreement. Recently, a disagreement over the representation of the two sides at the legislative council blocked their efforts to establish the local administration.

On the final status of Abyei or the referendum, the talks are also stalled over the participation of the Misseriya nomads in the vote.

Speaking about the disputed areas, Abdel-Gadir said Sudan refuses the partial withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops from Mile 14, stressing any military presence will hamper the movement of pastoralists.

He also accused Juba of seeking to transfer the disputed issues to the Security Council.

In a similar move, the spokesperson of foreign affairs ministry, Al-Obeid Marawih, on Monday said that South Sudanese government seeks to refer the outstanding issues to the Security Council in accordance with an American strategy.

The Sudanese diplomat praised the decision of the African leaders saying Khartoum's keenness to establish good neighbourly relations with Juba convinced them to not refer the issues to the Security Council.

He also stressed that the Sudanese position is based on the ability of Africans to settle their complicated conflicts that are difficult to resolve in the framework of international standards.

Marawih further said the two countries are requested to strengthening the political will to find common solutions in the long run.

He further explained that slow implementation of the signed deals is caused by Juba continued hesitation and the international interferences.

The two sides used to accuse each other of obstructing or violating the enforcement of the signed agreement and come out with different interpretations.

The leaders of the two countries committed themselves before four of African leaders to work together to implement the Cooperation Agreement they signed on 27 September aiming to end the ongoing dispute and to establish good relations between the two nations.

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