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Sudanese president to visit Juba next week

December 30, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir will pay a visit to the Southern capital of Juba next week for talks with Salva Kiir who is the head of the semi-autonomous region.

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A picture taken on January 9, 2009 shows Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (3rdR) and First Vice President Salva Kiir (R) arriving at Upper-Nile State capital city, Malakal for celebrations to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the signing of the CPA (AFP)

The minister for regional co-operation in the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Deng Alor told the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that Kiir and Bashir will discuss the remaining outstanding items in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The semi-autonomous south Sudan is due to vote on its future on January 9, the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longest civil war. The south is widely expected to choose secession.

The National Congress Party (NCP) in the north & Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the South have been discussing without success since July the key sticking points of future citizenship arrangements, the sharing out of natural resources — particularly oil — security and compliance with international accords, notably on water allocation from the Nile.

They have also yet to find common ground on the disputed oil district of Abyei which had supposed to be holding a simultaneous vote on its own future that has been delayed by disagreements over who should be eligible to vote and demarcating the region’s borders.

Alor said that hopes for a unity vote in the referendum are diminishing and that it is best for both sides to seek a peaceful divorce and focus on maintaining brotherly ties in the post-secession Sudan.

The NCP officials including Bashir have said they will recognize the outcome of the referendum even if it points to secession.