August 23, 2012 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) – Talks over the outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan are expected to resume at the date fixed by the African Union mediation team and will not be affected by the death of Ethiopian Prime Minister, Juba announced on Thursday.
- Pagan Amum (left), c lead mediator for the African Union, Thabo Mbeki (centre) and Sudan’s head negotiator Idriss Abdel Qadir , in Addis Ababa on March 13, 2012. (Reuters)
Following the death of Meles Zenawi, there were unconfirmed reports that the resumption of discussions in Addis Ababa over the unresolved issues between the two countries might be adjourned until after the late leader’s funeral.
South Sudan minister of information and cabinet spokesperson Barnaba Marial Benjamin however told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that his government did not receive any communication in this regard from the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) - headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki - about this issue.
The mediators "are the ones handling these arrangements and they have not sent to us any official notification about rescheduling the talks, Benjamin said when asked about the rumour on Thursday.
"I do not have any information about that. I would have known if there was such request because I am the government spokesperson," he stressed.
Edmond Mulet, UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, told the UN Security Council on Thursday that the talks are scheduled to resume on 30 August.
Zenawi, as head of the regional IGAD body and because of his close relations with the two sides facilitated the talks and played crucial role to narrow gap between the two capitals on issues ranging from their shared border, oil, citizenship, assets and security.
He proposed in June 2011 to deploy Ethiopian troops in the contested oil-producing border are Abyei to prevent further escalation between the two sides in May of last year. He also pushed Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebels to discuss a peaceful solution of their conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.