African Union mediator for the Sudans, former President Thabo Mbeki, with Presidents Silva Kiir of the Republic of South Sudan and Omar Hassan al-Bashir of the Republic of Sudan. The two sides may meet at the UNSC., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Wednesday 1 August 2012
Sudan says Bashir agreed “in principle” to meeting Kiir as UNSC “expects” deadline to be met
July 31, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan clarified on Tuesday that its president, Omer Al-Bashir, is not opposed in principle to meeting his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, amid growing pressures on the two sides to meet a UN deadline for the conclusion of post-secession talks.
The clarification follows statements in which the Sudanese ministry of foreign affairs’ spokesman, Al-Obaid Adam Marawih, said on Monday that Al-Bashir declined to accept an invitation from the African Union (AU) chief mediator Thabo Mbeki to meet Kiir in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
Marawih said that Al-Bashir, who flew to Qatar on the same day, apologized due to planned travel arrangements.
The Sudanese delegation to the talks being held with South Sudan said in a press release that Khartoum had agreed “in principle” to the proposed meeting and that Marawih’s statements were “taken out of context.”
“President Al-Bashir agreed in principle to the meeting, but at a later date, due to private circumstances and Al-Bashir’s commitment to travel to Qatar on the same day proposed by the mediator” the statement said. “We wish that this delay would allow more time to achieve progress in the talks so the summit’s results would be fruitful”
Meanwhile, The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has reminded both sides of their commitment to reach an agreement before the 2 August deadline, which the UNSC set in May and warned the two countries of facing non-military sanctions if they failed to meet it.
Mark Lyall Grant, UK envoy to the UNSC, noted on Tuesday that the meeting between Al-Bashir and Kiir has not yet taken place and urged both leaders to show the “necessary statesmanship to make the necessary compromises so an agreement can be reached”
“The UNSC has set a deadline and expects results by that deadline” he stressed.
The UNSC demands that the two sides concludes their talks on oil issues, demarcation of borders, the status of Abyei and citizenship by the 2 August deadline.
But the talks themselves, which focused mainly on border security and oil transit fees, have so far failed to reach agreement on any of these issues amid reports that the two sides are planning to request a joint extension of the deadline.