March 4,2013 (JUBA)- South Sudan president Salva Kiir has written a letter to African leaders asking them to support a road map issued by the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to resolve his nation’s disputes with neighbouring Sudan.
- Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir ( L) shakes hands with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa on 14 July 2012 (SUNA)
Following clashes between the two countries over the ownership of Heglig/Panthou in April 2012, the AUPSC issued a road map giving tough conditions requiring the two sides to end hostilities and to immediately resume negotiations over disputed issues under the leadership of the African Union high level implementation Panel (AUHIP).
However, despite the endorsement of this road map by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the tight time-frame given to the parties, the two parties failed to implement what they agreed in the September 2012 Cooperation Agreement, or to reach a compromise on other remaining issues.
South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nhial Deng Nhial, said on Monday that president Salva Kiir had written to all African heads of state asking for their support in ending the post-secession negotiations and pushing for the immediate implementation of all previous agreements without conditions.
"As the government, we have never refused negotiating with Sudan. We have always shown interest in resolving dispute through peaceful dialogue. We started negotiating with them (Sudan) long before we became a government but it is important that there must be a timelines", the minister said.
"There should be a definite time-frame as came in the African Union peace and Security Council roadmap. We are therefore calling on the same African leaders to support the roadmap which it issued on the 24th of April 2012 and the communiqué it issued again in October 2012", he further added in statement to Sudan Tribune.
Khartoum refused a decision by the AUPSC calling for a referendum on the fate of Abyei to be held in October and convinced the AU leaders that its referral to the UNSC means a return to war.
However Juba said it has made all possible concessions and called on regional and international communities to intervene arguing that talks over who can participate in this crucial vote cannot continue endlessly.
Nhial explained that the letters, delivered by different officials at different times, explained the position of Juba and its commitment to end the conflict and urged African heads of state to support AUPSC decision.
"We have received assurance of support from number of African heads of state. They have shown their support to end discussion and begin to work on how we should implement the agreements we have signed," he explained.
Speaking in Vienna, Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti, following a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, reiterated Khartoum’s willingness to implement all the agreements inked by the two countries and asked called on to implement it.
Sudan recently said South Sudanese government stepped back from the implementation of the security arrangements and continues to support the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North .
Khartoum further accuses Juba of refusing to withdraw its troops from the disputed Mile 14 as provided in a deal aiming to establish a buffer zone of the two countries to prevent a return of war between the two countries.