January 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has agreed to meet with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Friday 4 January, Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) reported.
- FILE - Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (R) listens as his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir speaks during a joint news conference (Reuters)
SUNA quoted presidential press secretary Emad Sid Ahmed as saying that the summit will be held for the purpose of speeding up the implementation of what was agreed to before, in reference to the cooperation deals signed last September in Addis Ababa.
The announcement comes at the heels of a recent visit by the new Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Khartoum and Juba in a bid to refresh peace efforts.
The new date comes into contrast with meeting date originally set for January 13th.
South Sudan seceded from the north in July 2011 but many outstanding issues remained unresolved including borders, oil, Abyei and citizenship among others.
Regional and international efforts have failed to break the deadlock between the two nations.
Khartoum insists that security arrangements be prerequisite to the implementation of any other agreements, particularly relating to resumption of oil exports from landlocked South Sudan.
Sudan specifically wants South Sudan to end its support to insurgents fighting Khartoum in the border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Juba denies the claims saying that this is an internal Sudanese matter.
In a sign of goodwill South Sudan president yesterday said his country will withdraw its troops from border areas to allow for the operation of the proposed demilitarized border zone with Sudan.
Up till then neither country has yet withdrawn its respective army 10 km (six miles) from the border to set up a buffer zone, a condition to restart the flow of southern oil through the north.