June 28, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudan has asked neighbouring Eritrea to play a diplomatic role in pushing Sudan to commit itself for a genuine negotiations with South Sudan on the existing outstanding issues.
- Eritrean president, Isaias Afewerk meets secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-moon in the South Sudan capital, Juba, July 2011 (UN)
The calls were made during talks between South Sudan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Barnaba Marial Benjamin and a visiting Eritrean delegation led by the advisor to Eritrean President, Yemane Ghebreab.
Benjamin reiterated his country’s commitment to the peace process and accused Khartoum of failing to commit itself to genuine negotiations.
He called on Eritrea to advise Khartoum to improve its approach towards the talks by further stressing the importance of the next round of talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Addis has been host to a series of African Union High Level Implementation Panel talks between Juba and Khartoum since relations over various issues including border demarcation, deteriorated into military conflict in March.
The Eritrean presidential advisor, Yemane Ghebreab, expressed his country’s firm stance in seeing a viable and peaceful Sudan and South Sudan side by side.
Ghebreab said Eritrea would exert all efforts to peacefully resolve the disputes and in find a final settlement to the outstanding issues between the two states.
The Eritrean official further assured South Sudan that the idea of stretching an oil pipeline through Eritrea was possible and that Eritrea would welcome the possible plan.
One of the sticking points between Juba and Khartoum has been the use of the pipeline which transports landlocked South Sudanese oil to the Sudanese coast. In the row over payment of fees for using the pipeline South Sudan halted production in January. Since which, South Sudan has been seeking alternative routes for South Sudanese oil to be exported, of which Kenya is currently the front-runner.
Despite repeated pledges to genuine talks both parties have so far failed to narrow their differences.
The recent talks held in Addis Ababa between Sudan and South Sudan broke off without progress after the two sides failed to agree on the issue of a demilitarized zone along the border.
Representatives from Sudan and South Sudan will resume negotiation talks this week in Addis Ababa.