The former South African President Thabo Mbeki came to Juba to consult with South Sudan’s leaders on the implementation of the AU roadmap and the UN Security Council resolution on the two countries.
Mbeki says he had fruitful meetings with president Salva Kiir, the negotiating team of South Sudan and the members of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM).
Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan. (UN Photo: Mc Kulka)“The president and the leadership we met” request the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) that “the programmes indicated in the AU roadmap and the UN Security Council resolution need to be implemented as a matter of urgency”, Mbeki told the press after yesterday’s meeting.
Mbeki stressed that Sudan and South Sudan have to bear in mind the timeframe set by the UN Security Council resolution.
“We are in complete agreement about the steps to be taken”, which will ensure a timely negotiation process about “all the outstanding issues so that a final resolution is reached”, Mbeki says.
However, according to Reuters a senior South Sudanese official said he did not believe Khartoum was ready to negotiate.
During the meeting with Mbeki in Khartoum, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir said that he believes the two nations are in need of peace. But he also insisted that all pending security issues should be resolved first, pointing out that South Sudan should stop its support for rebels in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
Yet, for Mbeki, it is important that the two parties convene as soon as possible so “they can together look at the practical steps that would be taken to implement the African Union roadmap and UN Security Council resolution”.
Therefore the AU mediation team heads back to Khartoum, expecting Sudan’s government to agree on a date for the renewed negotiations to begin.
Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan.“We are going back to Khartoum to consult and I am quite sure that within this week we will agree on a date,” Mbeki says, as “president Bashir said he will direct his own people to engage in this negotiations as required”.
Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan escalated in early April, when South Sudan seized an oil field in Heglig, a disputed border area which both sides claim. South Sudan later withdrew its troops under international pressure.
Sudan and South Sudan are yet to resolve several contentious post-independent issues, a dispute over oil revenues, border demarcation and the repatriation of Southerners living in Sudan.
Tensions over these unsettled issues continue to flare, resulting in the loss of many lives, the displacement of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure.
The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of the publishers of www.theniles.org
Pascal works as editor and radio-correspondent for South Sudan Radio, a state-run broadcasting station.