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TEXT: Joint communiqué issued at the end of South Africa President visit to Sudan

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September 16, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – Below the full text of the joint communiqué issued today at the end of the two day working visit of the South African President Thabo Mbeki to Sudan.

1. At the invitation of His Excellency Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan, His Excellency Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa paid a working visit to the Republic of the Sudan from 15 to 16 September 2008.

2. President Mbeki was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Mr. Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Advocate Mujanko Gumbi, Special Advisor to the President and other senior officials. President Mbeki and the accompanying delegation were accorded cordial reception reflecting the close relations between the two countries.

3. During the visit, President Mbeki held talks with President Al-Bashir on a wide range of issues that covered internal situations in their respective countries, and bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. President Mbeki also met with the First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan and the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit.

4. President Mbeki was briefed on the internal situation in the Sudan, particularly the situation in Darfur, the indictment of President Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court, the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the situation in the Sudan as a whole.

5. The two sides agreed that the approval by Pre-Trial Chamber of the application by the International Criminal Court chief Prosecutor could seriously undermine the ongoing efforts aimed at facilitating the early resolution of the conflict in Darfur and the promotion of long-lasting peace and reconciliation in the Sudan as a whole and, as a result, may lead to further suffering of the people of the Sudan and greater destabilisation with far-reaching consequences for the country and region.

6. The Sudanese government reaffirmed its commitment towards finding a just and lasting solution to the Darfur crisis and to this end, President Mbeki was briefed on the people of Sudan initiative launched by President Al-Bashir. The initiative is aimed at achieving national solutions to the problems of the Sudan through the participation of all Sudanese political spectrum including, rebel movements, tribal leaders and civil society organizations.

7. With regard to the deployment of the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur, the two Presidents urged the international community to support the African Union member countries that have deployed troops in Darfur through the provision of the required logistics and financial support.

8. The two Presidents noted progress achieved in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, particularly development in Southern Sudan, the appointment of the Administrator and Deputy Administrator of the Abyei area, the enactment of the Election Act and the approval of the Maps and Documents Sub-committee report on the demarcation of the North-South border. The two Presidents committed to continue to attend to the outstanding matters in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement implementation.

9. The two Presidents noted with satisfaction the outcome of the recently held second session of the joint Bilateral Commission and the inauguration of the Ministerial component of the Commission in Khartoum, which was crowned by the signing of the Agreement on Mutual Assistance on customs Administration.

10. The Government of National Unity expressed its satisfaction with the implementation of the DFA-GOSS-UNISA Capacity and Institution Building Project for Southern Sudan, which has seen the training of over 900 Southern Sudan Officials. The Government of National Unity also expressed its gratitude for the donation of a 40-ton humanitarian consignment by South Africa for the people of Abyei area, which was delivered on 22 August 2008 in Juba.

11. The two Presidents agreed to maintain closer consultations and communications on bilateral relations and other issues of mutual interest.

12. President Al-Bashir warmly congratulated the Southern African Development Community mission led by President Mbeki for the success achieved in concluding the historic Power-sharing Agreement in Zimbabwe.

13. President Mbeki expressed his profound thanks and gratitude to President Al-Bashir and to the Government and the people of the Sudan for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation during the visit.

Issued in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday, 16 September 2008.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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