September 16, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan has reiterated its rejection to foreign intervention in the ongoing efforts of the African Union mediation to settle the unresolved issues with South Sudan after its independence.
- Chief African Union mediator and former South African president, Thabo Mbeki speaks with media after his meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on April 6, 2012. (Getty)
As the deadline of 22 September approaches, foreign envoy gather in Addis Ababa in a bid to push the two parties to make the necessary concessions and to seal an agreement over the disputed issues.
An agreement over the grazing land "Mile 14" located between the Western Bahr El Ghazal, in South Sudan and East Darfur in Sudan seems crucial for the mediators to make a real breakthrough in the process.
Also the presence of South Sudanese soldiers in the area might lead to military confrontation in the future. Khartoum different times said refusing the presence of the SPLA forces there and asked for its withdrawal from the region.
The breakthrough is also needed by the mediation and the international community to allow at least the implementation of deals reached on security arrangements, border trade and oil exportation. Any failure of the talks might lead to ignite border tensions again.
The spokesperson of Khartoum delegation, Badr El-Din Abdallah, said "Sudanese position on [foreign] interference in the work of the African mediation remains constant. [Only] the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) mediates and facilitates the negotiations between the two countries."
The Sudanese diplomat said the talks are progressing but added that he cannot confirm that the parties might agree on the disputed issues before the deadline.
Speaking following a consultations meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 6 September about Addis Ababa process, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice expressed its concerns about the lack of urgency demonstrated by the two parties, particularly Sudan, in the full implementation of Resolution 2046.
She further said Sudan refusal of the African map and the establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone remains an issue of utmost concern.
Rice stressed the UNSC must play an active role and out pressure on the parties to meet their obligation under Resolution 2046.
US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Princeton Lyman , European Union envoy for Sudan, Rosalind Marsden and UK special representative for Sudan Robin Gwynn are in Addis Ababa where they met the mediation and the two delegations to encourage them to overcome their differences.
Atif Kiir, spokesperson of the South Sudanese delegation said the mediation cannot extend the talks after the 22 September adding the decision should be taken by the UNSC and the African Union Peace and Security Council.
He further accused Khartoum of delaying the process saying its refusal to accept the African Union map for the buffer zone remains the major obstacle to reach an agreement.
Sources close to the talks said an African team will fly Monday to Khartoum to hand the proposition of the mediation over Abyei to the Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir after what they will travel to Juba to meet President Salva Kiir for the same purpose.
The two leaders are expected to meet on 21 September to discuss Abyei and other issues the negotiating teams fail to reach a deal on it.
Badr El-Din said the two parties are discussing two draft agreements about the border demarcation. One related to the management of the common borders and the other deals with the framework of reference for the African experts who are supposed to facilitate the demarcation process.