Sunday December 10, 2017

Sudan and South Sudan pledged to cease hostilities along their disputed oil-rich border

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (R) meets South Sudan's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party secretary general and head of the South Sudan delegation Pagan Amum (L), in Khartoum, March 22, 2012. (Credit: REUTERS)


ADDIS ABABA – South Sudan and Sudan delegates agree to end hostilities along the disputed undemarcated and oil-rich border but fall short to sign an agreement. The verbal agreement came as the latest round of talks closed in the Ethiopian capital ahead of celebrations Monday to mark one year of independence for South Sudan.
Addressing the press, Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein told reporters, “We have agreed … to the unequivocal commitment of the two parties to never solicit force to settle their disputes and differences and to commit themselves to the cessation of hostilities.”  
Defence Minister added, &147;the two sides also agreed &145;to strengthen&146; (and) &145;enhance&146; the political will which is happily once more existing between the two countries.” 
However there is no agreement on a demilitarised buffer zone along the border in the latest round of talks, but Hussein insisted the “normalisation” of relations was the current priority for both countries.
“The demarcation of the (safe border zone) is not in itself an objective. What we are trying to do to is normalise relations between the two countries,” continued.
Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s chief negotiator said, &147;he was pleased with the &145;new spirit&146; at the latest round of talks and said his country was committed to improving relations with Khartoum.&148;
“We are going to discuss all issues, security, economic, that includes trade and oil … and we have committed ourselves to resolving the border dispute,” Amum added.
Amum said, &147;the disputed Abyei region would also be addressed and that both sides agreed on creating an open border to promote bilateral trade.&148;
“We are convinced … the approach that the parties have taken indeed creates the basis for a speedier resolution of these outstanding questions,” he said.
No concrete deals have been forged since talks resumed in May, but Hussein said they remained committed to meeting the August 2 deadline.
“We believe that we have addressed several issues contained in the resolution, and we are equally resolved to discuss the remaining issues while respecting fully the deadline,” he said.
Amum said, President Salva Kiir has invited Sudan president Omer Al-Bashir to attend the celebration of the first anniversary of South Sudan independence in Juba.
The Upper Nile Times

Tekle Mariam

A Senior news correspondent for The Upper Nile Times based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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