January 29, 2013 (JUBA) – Talks between South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and his Sudanese counterpart on the implementation of last year’s cooperation agreement has made no progress, an official said Tuesday.
- South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir (Reuters)
Emmanuel Lowilla, the minister for the presidency in the South Sudanese government told journalists that Khartoum placed new demands as a pre-condition for the implementation of the 27 September 2012 agreement the two countries signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The minister, who accompanied Kiir, to the recently concluded African Union (AU) summit, said a deadlock arose over the demilitarised zone in the "Mile-14" area and the composition of members from the two countries on the Abyei Legislative Council.
According to Lowilla, Sudan is pushing for a 50% representation in the council, as opposed to the previously agreed 40%, arguing that in the past they accepted the 60% held by South Sudan because they were one country at the time and wanted to promote the idea of “attractive unity”.
“They [Government of Sudan] also want the "Mile-14" area to extend up to Abiemnhom [county] in Unity state and Raja in Western Bhar al Ghazal state. This is contrary to the agreement that defines "Mile-14" as the area between Dinka Malual and the Rezigat tribes,” Lowilla told journalists in the capital, Juba.
The minster further urged members of the international community to intervene so that both countries can reach a peaceful settlement over outstanding issues.
However, Sudan’s chief negotiator, Idris Abdel-Gadir, on Tuesday, ruled out the possibility of referring the disputed issues between the two countries to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Addressing the press in Khartoum, Abdel-Gadir accused foreign powers of pushing the Sudanese government to accept UNSC intervention, and instead predicted an extension to the mandate of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan and South Sudan after the end of its current term.
Meanwhile, in a meeting held at the level of heads of states and governments on 25 January, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) declined demands by Kiir, who wanted the disputes with Khartoum referred to the UNSC; a matter already considered in the past.