29 January 2013

Sudan: No Progress in Sudan and South Sudan Talks, Says Official

Juba — Talks between South Sudan's President, Salva Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir on the implementation of last year's cooperation agreement made no progress, an official said Tuesday.

Emmanuel Lowiilla, the minister for the presidency in South Sudan government told journalists that Khartoum placed new demands as a pre-condition for the implementation of the 27 September 2012 agreement the two countries signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The minister, who accompanied President Kiir, to the just concluded African Union summit, said a deadlock arose over the demilitarized zone in Mile-14 and the composition of members from the two countries on the Abyei Legislative Council.

Sudan, according to Lowiilla, is pushing for a 50% representation in the Council, as opposed to the agreeable 40%, arguing that in the past, they accepted the 60% held by South Sudan because they were one country at the time and wanted to promote the idea of "attractive unity".

"They [Government of Sudan] also want Mile-14 area to extend up to the Abiemnhom [county] in Unity State and Raja in Western Bhar al Ghazal state. This is contrary to the agreement that defines Mile-14 as the area between Dinka Malual and the Rezigat tribes," Lowilla told journalists in the capital, Juba.

The minster, further urged member of the international community to intervene so that both countries can reach a peaceful settlement of their outstanding matters.

However, Sudan's chief negotiator, Idris Abdel-Gadir, on Tuesday, ruled out the possibility of having the disputed issues between the two countries, referred to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The official, while addressing the press in Khartoum, accused foreign powers of pushing the Sudanese government to accept option of involving the UN body, and instead predicted an extension to the mandate of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan and South Sudan after the end of its current term.

Meanwhile, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), in a meeting held at the level of heads of states and governments on 25 January, declined to meet demands by South Sudan president, who wanted the disputes with Khartoum referred to the UNSC; a matter already considered in the past.

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