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Sudan and South Sudan hold comprehensive talks over unresolved issues

July 18, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Talks over all unresolved issues between Sudan and South Sudan will start on Thursday in line with a strategic framework endorsed earlier this month, as the parties are now exactly 14 days away from a deadline fixed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

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Omer Dahab, spokesperson of the Sudanese negotiating team (SUNA)

Sudan are sticking to the ’security first’ approach asking South Sudan to stop supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) and to expel Darfur rebel groups.

Khartoum, also, continued to reject a map proposed by the mediation team to implement a buffer zone on the common border delaying the implementation of the security arrangements.

During their meeting on 14 July the presidents, Omar Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir, agreed on the need to make bold decisions and instructed their delegations to decide what is good for the interest of the two countries through direct discussions.

"The positive atmosphere in the meetings has been strengthened now in (venue of the talks) Bahir Dar, due, in our opinion, to the agreement on strategic approach to resolving all outstanding issues between the two countries. But, also due to the meeting that took place between President Omer Al-Bashir and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan in Addis Ababa during the week," said the spokesperson of the Sudanese negotiating delegation Omer Dahab.

Dahab told the official news agency, SUNA, that the heads of the two delegations, Sudan’s defense minister Abdel-Rahim Hussein and South Sudan’s top negotiator Pagan Amum, held a series of meetings with a small number of delegates on Wednesday.

"The two sides agreed to address all issues in a comprehensive manner where they will focus on the details of the comprehensive strategic approach that the parties adopted on 7 July."

Bashir, during a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on 14 July, repeated his rejection of a map prepared by the mediation team for the demilitarised zone. The issue seemingly has altered relations between Sudan and the mediation team.

The strategic approach is a result of direct meetings between the two parties without the mediation.

Sources close to the talks in Addis Ababa, said Juba fears that the 7 July framework might be used tactically by Khartoum to avoid compliance with the United Nations resolution 2046.

The African Union mediation team now seeks to hold another presidential summit during the upcoming days to present a package of propositions they intend to file to the UNSC on 2 August.

The presidential summit, sources said, also reminded the negotiating teams the talks are held in accordance with the AU roadmap and the UN resolution.