March 14, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Council of Ministers, chaired by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, has reiterated the government’s commitment to implementing the cooperation agreements signed with South Sudan.
- FILE - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, center, and Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, right, attend a cabinet meeting (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
The council spokesperson Omer Mohamed Salih said that the cabinet has called on Sudan’s ministries to normalise and enhance relations with their counterparts in South Sudan, saying it is in the best interests of the countries’ citizens.
The official told reporters that the cabinet has deliberated on a report on the cooperation agreements matrix presented by the State Minister at the presidency of the Republic and head of the government delegation for negotiations with South Sudan, Idris Abdul-Qadir.
He noted that the recent round of talks was confined to the implementation the agreements which were signed last September in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
This week delegations from both countries meeting in Addis Ababa agreed to a 16-page timetable to put the nine September agreements into effect including the one related to resuming South Sudan’s export of oil through the pipelines that run through Sudan’s territory.
However, it did not set a date for determining the final status of Abyei, a disputed territory that has triggered fighting in the past. An administration and council for the area would be set up by March 17, however.
Salih said that provisional arrangements will be adopted by both countries and the Abyei administration within seven days and the set-up of a joint police service will be completed with 30 days, adding that the two countries agreed on the formation of a joint committee on the border and a timetable for border demarcation within two weeks.
On trade relations between the two countries, the spokesperson said that the two sides agreed on the formation of a joint committee within five days to draft an agreement on customs within 95 days, as well as the formation of another joint committee for organising the cooperation between the two central banks and completing the procedure for facilitating banking accounts within 40 days.
He said that the matrix included payment of post-retirement benefits for employees in both countries.
Furthermore, the two countries also agreed on forming a joint committee to facilitate the movement of citizens and goods, as well as the establishment of mechanisms for monitoring the international demilitarised zones and the ‘14-mile’ area and reviewing the complaints of affected persons in both Sudans within 90 days.
Salih said that Khartoum and Juba were to instruct oil companies to prepare for the resumption of production within 14 days, adding that the signing the matrix agreement between Sudan and South Sudan had moved from a stage of negotiations to an era of direct bilateral relations and cooperation.
He said that the cabinet has expressed its gratitude for the role played by the government delegation during negotiations, the African Union-led mediation team headed by Thabo Mbeki, adding that the Cabinet also thanked South Sudanese president Salva Kiir for his positive stance during the negotiation phase.