January 5, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA/KHARTOUM) - Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents will start talks Saturday over the implementation of a security deal after separate meetings with the Ethiopian Prime Minister and the African Union chief mediator in Addis Ababa.
- President Salva Kiir (L), Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn (C) and the chief mediator Thabo Mbeki (R) meet in Addis Ababa on January 4, 2013. (Getty)
The main purpose of this presidential summit is to bridge the gaps between the positions of the two negotiating teams in the joint political and security committee which failed to agree on how to deal with the rebels’ issue in their talks over the implementation of security arrangements.
The meeting also will discuss the organization of a referendum in Abyei. Khartoum rejects a proposal made by the African mediation and backed by the AU Peace and Security Council providing to hold the decisive vote over the fate of the disputed area in October of this year.
Further, the fresh accusations of bombing inside the South Sudanese territory shed light on the third hot issue of disputed border areas which will also to be tackled by the two presidents, as Khartoum speaks about a Sudanese territory occupied by the South Sudanese forces.
As planned the two presidential delegations arrived in the Ethiopian capital on Friday where they held in the afternoon separately with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki.
Desalegn and Mebki discussed the agenda of the talks in their separate meetings with the two presidents, but no information filtered out after the two meetings.
The official Sudanese news agency SUNA said the summit will discuss steps to speed up the implementation of the Security Agreement, giving an indication about the Sudanese position on the agenda of the talks.
Following the meetings, it was announced that Bashir and Kiir will meet on Saturday 5 January instead of Friday.
However, Reuters reported that the two leaders met alone late on Friday night without any confirmation from another source.
Khartoum demands that Juba disengage with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North rebels who fight the Sudanese army in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Every time Sudanese official speak about the Cooperation Agreement, they hint to the security deal and Juba commitment, as they say, to end its support to the Sudanese rebels, stressing it is a necessary step before allowing the export of South Sudanese oil through its territory or to hold talks with the SPLM-N.
From his side, South Sudanese top negotiator, Pagan Amum, made pessimistic statements to reporters in Addis Ababa. He expressed doubts that the summit will yield any substantial progress.
He went on to further reiterate South Sudan’s determination to bring the disputes before the international arbitration to resolve it peacefully.
The international court of justice, however, requires the two parties consent to arbitration, as it was to delimit Abyei border.
The Cooperation Agreement the two presidents signed on on 27 September 2012 is composed of nine deals including the resumption of South Sudanese oil exports through Sudan and setting up a demilitarized zone along their disputed border.