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Ethiopia urges Sudanese peace partners to settle their disputes differently

September 29, 2010 (NEW YORK) – Ethiopia urged the Sudanese peace partners to adopt a new approach in dealing with the implementation of the outstanding issues related to the referendum on self determination in southern Sudan and Abyei.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Seyoum Mesfin delivers his address September 29, 2010 during the 65th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. (UN)"There is clearly a need to change the mode of operation in the negotiations on the implementation of the CPA since business as usual is obviously not going to work," said Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin on Wednesday in his speech before the annual general meeting of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly.

Mesfin further called on the Sudanese party to parties to "carry out their respective obligations without putting preconditions along the way." "In doing so their incentive should be peace and no one can impose it on them if they do not show the political will to achieve it," he further said.

Ethiopia, one of the guarantors of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005, is also the current head of IGAD, the regional organization that facilitated the three year talks between the Sudanese government and the former rebel SPLM.

The Horn of Africa country is also the sole country to have joint border with northern and southern Sudan, and the landlocked country seems keen to adopt a neutral position on the current row on the referendum.

He underlined that the success of the two peace partners to run the referendum and to implement its outcome will be a success for the African continent and its failure will be a catastrophe for Africa.

"There is conceivably no other conflict in the continent today comparable to that of the Sudan," he said.

"As such we believe success in the Sudan will mean a significant success for Africa as a whole," he said. "By the same token, failure may entail a serious catastrophe for Africa."

The southern Sudanese have to vote in a referendum for unity with north Sudan or separation according to the provisions of the CPA, which ended the longest civil war in Africa.

Mesfin that the CPA parties "irrespective of the outcome of the referenda" should not only focus on January 2011. Adding they have to admit that there are several commonalties, bonds and values shared by people in northern and southern Sudan.

"That is why it is of paramount importance that the negotiations on post-referenda should be concluded in the earnest with the serious purpose the issues deserve.

(ST)