22 October 2013

East Africa: Ban Welcomes Discussions in Juba Between Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Mud and straw tukuls have been reduced to rubble in Abyei (file photo).

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the meeting today between the Presidents of South Sudan and Sudan, at which the two leaders discussed the contested border region of Abyei.

"The Secretary-General welcomes the holding of a Summit between the Presidents of Sudan [Omar al-Bashir] and South Sudan [Salva Kiir] in Juba today," said a statement issued by Mr. Ban's Spokesperson in New York.

The statement said the UN chief took note of the two Presidents' intent to expedite the establishment of the Abyei Administration, Abyei Council and Abyei Police Service.

"He also welcomes their decision to accelerate the full establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) by mid-November," the statement added.

Mr. Ban, in the statement, called on both countries to urgently resume their consultations on the implementation of the 2012 African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposal to determine the final status of Abyei, and called on Abyei community leaders to refrain from any unilateral initiatives which could increase tensions in the Abyei area.

The AUHIP brokered a package of propels between the two sides that included topics on security, the common border and economic relations aimed at enabling the two nations to fulfil their obligations under a so-called roadmap for easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing the relations between the two countries.

However, armed clashes along the common border have continued and outstanding post-independence issues remain, such as control of the oil-rich Abyei area.

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