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Mbeki makes new proposals to break deadlocked security talks

December 16, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The African mediation handed new proposals for the Sudanese and South Sudanese delegations aiming to help the two sides to strike a deal on the implementation of the security arrangements.

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Chief African Union mediator and former South African president, Thabo Mbeki (file photo/Getty)

The two countries failed in two meetings held in Juba and Khartoum to agree on the implementation of the security deal inked last September because Khartoum demands Juba to disengage with the SPLM-North rebels while the latter says this issue is not part of the signed agreement.

Sources from Addis Ababa said the new proposals include a plan to build confidence between the two parties, the operationalisation of the demilitarised zone and measure to ensure that no rebel groups are harboured or supported by both sides involving foreign observers.

The two delegations member of the joint security committee, headed by defense ministers, discussed Sunday the agenda of the meeting and they are scheduled to resume talks on Monday.

Sudanese government continues to accuse the South Sudan of backing rebel groups particularly the SPLM-North which was part of the ruling party in Juba before the independence .

Sudan last November in a meeting held in Juba demanded to extend the buffer zone to the border with Blue Nile and South Kordofan. But the South Sudanese delegation rejected this demand.

The chief mediator is expected to propose a compromise satisfying the two parties on this critical issue.

The lack of confidence hampers the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement. Sudanese officials repeated recently that the resumption of oil exportation will allow Juba to fund rebel activities in South Kordofan, and Darfur.

In his report to the African Union Peace and security Council last on 14 December, Mbeki underscored that the conflict in the two southern Sudanese areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile constitutes a hindrance towards the improvement of relations between Juba and Khartoum.

Also, besides the security issues the two countries still have a big gap in their positions on Abyei and the disputed areas on the common border.

The AUPSC on 14 December maintained its support to a proposal the mediation made providing to hold a referendum in Abyei next year without the participation of Misseriya herders. But it did not decide to refer the proposal to the UN Security Council leaving it to a presidential summit to be held in January.

In Khartoum, the ruling National Congress Party reaffirmed on Sunday its opposition to submit the issue of Abyei to the Security Council stressing that African solution remains its only option.

Hasabo Abdel-Rahman, NCP political secretary, following a meeting the party held on Abyei issue, praised the AUPSC’s decision to postpone the referral, adding that the African leaders with their wisdom and expertise will arrive to resolve this issue in January meeting.

(ST)