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Sudan, S. Sudan Discuss Security Agreements

by Marthe Van Der Wolf January 04, 2013

President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan are meeting in Ethiopia to discuss the issues delaying the carrying out of the agreements reached in September on security and economic matters.

South Sudan Ambassador to Ethiopia Arop Deng says the presidents will not discuss new issues.

"Its just the commitment for the implementation of what has been agreed, there is no new issue to be agreed," said Deng.

Oil produced in South Sudan will not resume going through Sudan's pipelines until the agreements are implemented. Oil revenues are a fundamental source of income for both countries.

Deng says that oil production can start anytime if Sudan would let it.

"South Sudan is ready to send its oil, they send a Minister of Petroleum to Khartoum and to ask them let us start now implementing but Khartoum said no - there will be no any flow of oil from South Sudan until issues of the two areas is resolved," added Deng.

Oil and security matters remain the most sensitive issues. Disputes about the Abyei region and other claimed and border areas almost led to an all-out war in April last year. Sudan and South Sudan are to establish a safe border demilitarized zone, SBDZ, by each withdrawing their troops for at least ten kilometers.

Spokesperson of the Sudanese delegation, Mutrif Siddiq, says Sudan is not to blame for the lack of implementation.

"We accepted the map that has been presented by the African Union. And we are ready on our side to implement,' said Siddiq. 'Sudan has no forces in the SBDZ. Sudan has no forces south of the SBDZ, so most of the barriers lies on the side of government of South Sudan to clear its forces north of the SBDZ."

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn shuttled between Juba and Khartoum in December to persuade the two presidents to resolve their issues as soon as possible. This came after Sudan was increasing the number of its troops near the border.

Spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign affairs Dina Mufii says that it is in the interest of the whole region that Sudan and South Sudan resolve their issues.

"We don't need a war or conflict between the two because that has an impact on us. As much as regional stability has an impact on us for our development, for our prosperity, for our democratization process, the regional instability in our neighboring countries will affect us,' said Dina. 'So in that sense, we think whatever negative things that happen in Sudan would negatively impact us."

Lead negotiators of both countries started meetings on Thursday to set the agenda. Former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki is mediating the summit between the two presidents.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 from Sudan after a peace deal agreement that ended decades of war.

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