July 15, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Sunday suggested it may resume oil production and export it through neighboring Sudan if a "fair deal" is reached during the ongoing talks, as Khartoum accepted the appointment of Juba´s Ambassador to Sudan.
- In this image made from video, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, left, greets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 15, 2012 (AP)
Sudan and South Sudan leaders held a one-to-one meeting on Saturday raising hopes that the two countries might ink a comprehensive peace deal over the unresolved issues between the two countries since the independence of South Sudan in July 2011.
The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) in a statement released after a meeting organized on the sidelines of the AU summit in Addis Ababa on 14 July praised the public affirmation by Presidents Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Salva Kiir Mayardit of their commitment to new spirit of a strategic partnership between the two countries.
South Sudan’s chief negotiator at the talks, Pagan Amum, reiterated on Sunday that Juba has told the mediators "we have no problem resuming oil production through Sudan if a fair deal is reached with assurance that our oil will never be diverted by the Government of Sudan to their refineries".
Amum described the meeting between South Sudan´s president Salva Kiir with his Sudanese counterpart, Omer al-Bashir, as a “positive beginning” to the normalization of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Amum said he was among the leaders who accompanied president Kiir into a room where he and other officials from the two sides held a brief direct exchange of words before leaving the two leaders to continue their one-on-one discussion.
"I am optimistic that something positive will come out from this round. The meeting of the President Salva Kiir and President Bashir has boosted the negotiations. It also shows the commitment of the two leaders to resolve the outstanding issues," Amum told Sudan Tribune by telephone on Sunday.
The meeting between the two leaders was the first of its kind after the most dramatic deterioration of relations between the neighboring nations since the civil war ended in 2011. When the two sides clashed over the Heglig area in April 2012 .
The two countries are facing difficult economic crisis because of the different disputes between them. Juba last January shut down oil production, main source of revenue for the country. Khartoum, on the other hand had to impose drastic economic measures that triggered a series of protests after the loss of pipeline fees.
The meeting came in the wake of Comprehensive Strategic Approach which on 7 July saw the two governments agreeing to show good faith and transparency in the search for a resolutions to their pending issues.
The AUPSC reiterated its demand that the negotiations be completed by 2 August 2012, as provided for in the Roadmap and UN Security Council resolution 2046 (2012).
The African security body further asked the two sides to immediately commence the demarcation of the agreed areas of the boundary, as well as to establish the High?Level Committee on the Status of Nationals of the Other State and Related Matters, in order to address all issues under its purview.
The statement urged the two countries to speedily conclude agreements that would allow for the reopening of the border, facilitate the resumption of trade and support the livelihoods of border communities.
Delegations from both sides resumed talks in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, on 12 July 2012. The committees discuss simultaneously all the outstanding issues, including security, oil transportation fee, borders demarcation, the status of nationals of the other State and the final status of Abyei.
The senior official also said that Sudan has accepted the appointment of the Ambassador of South Sudan to Khartoum and the establishment of full diplomatic contacts and operations.
Officials at South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told Sudan Tribune that Mayen Dut Wol has been appointed the country’s first ambassador to Sudan.
Upon appointment Wol said that he would do his upmost to "restore and promote better relations between the two countries."
Wol served as minister of health in Khartoum state during the six year interim period when the Sudan People´s Liberation Movement and the National Congress Party formed the Government of National Unity before South Sudan seceded in 2011.