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Addis Talks : Sudan admits little progress, as the mediators refuse SPLM-N’s demands

August 2, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Karti, admitted that little progress had been made in the talks of outstanding issues while the African mediation rejected a demand by Sudanese rebels to include issues not related to South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

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Sudan’s lead negotiating team (Reuters)

The deadline fixed by the African Union (AU) peace roadmap and the United Nations (UN) resolution ended on 2 August, as the parties failed to sign any agreement on the disputed issues.

On the Sudan and South Sudan talks, the mediators were forcing for a deal on security issues in order to restore some confidence between the two parties enabling them to move onto the other issues. But Sudan refused a map to create a buffer zone seen, by them, as a disadvantage.

Sudanese government on Thursday put outa position paper including its propositions over the unresolved issues, where Khartoum reduces its demand for oil transit fees to $22 instead of $32.

Speaking to Ashorooq TV from Addis Ababa, a Sudanese private channel, Karti reaffirmed Sudan’s readiness to reach a comprehensive deal with South Sudan over all the outstanding issues.

Karti met with Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU, to brief him about the position of his government over all the unresolved issues.

The minister will take part in a meeting which the AU Peace and Security Council will hold on Friday to discuss the course of the talks between the two sides and to assess the progress they made before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discuss it next week.

Karti pointed out that the parties are continuing the discussions, stressing that a little progress is being made, although it may not be as rapid as the international community would like.

He further added that there is a conviction to give the parties an opportunity to reach a comprehensive deal, referring to the keenness of international and regional parties to reach a final agreement in accordance with the road map of AU.

The Sudanese minister also said that United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged, in a conversation with him, the emphasis on the need to achieve the negotiations without delay.

France which chairs the UNSC for August and US ambassador to the UN urged the parties to reach an agreement before the deadline, hinting at possible sanctions as stated in the resolution 2046.

Khartoum’s continued rejection of the AU road map is seen as prejudicial to the ongoing effort to put in to place the demilitarised zone and to implement the security arrangements aiming to stop cross-border attacks carried by rebel groups.

On the other hand the talks between Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) are deadlocked, as the African mediators refused the demand of the rebel group to include other issues from different regions in the process.

The SPLM-N, in its paper submitted to the mediation, demanded to include Darfur crisis, eastern Sudan, compensation of population in North Sudan affected by the construction of Kajabar dam, and the issue of Aljazeera schema.

The mediation, which brokers these talks based on the resolution 2046, invoked that the process deals mainly with issues in relation with the South Kordofan and Blue Nile crisis.

The SPLM-N which calls for comprehensive process to settle the different crises in the country, asks its position paper also to reinstate Malik Agar, Blue Nile governor who was removed from his position after his rebellion in September 2011.

The Sudanese delegation to the political track is expected to return to Khartoum on Friday.

The mediation also stopped the humanitarian track with the SPLM-N as the government demands to have the full control of the distribution of food while the rebels say they want the humanitarian assistance be delivered from bordering countries.

Sudan’s vice president Al-Haj Adam Youssef praised, on Wednesday, the position of the mediation over the issue and added that "it proves that sons of the two states should speak about their concerns not (Yasir) Arman (who leads the SPLM-N delegation to the process) or other rebels."

Al-Haj also reiterated that the talks with the SPLM-N are based on a protocol dedicated to the two region included in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

(ST)