Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mbeki to Brief African Union Peace and Security Council on Khartoum-Juba Disagreements


Mbeki to brief AUPSC on Khartoum-Juba row

July 28, 2013, (KHARTOUM) - The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) will discuss in its meeting in Addis Ababa on Monday a report from the chairman of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki, on its efforts to solve the outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan.

Last month, both Sudan and South Sudan agreed to the AUHIP initiative which aims at solving the outstanding issues between the countries including the border issue and allegations of support to rebel groups on each side of the borders.

On the border issue, the AUHIP suggested mandating the African Union Border Program (AUBP) to set up an advisory committee to determine the baseline for the demilitarised security zone (zero line) on the ground on the basis of the coordinates listed in the map provided by the AUHIP to the two parties.

On the issue of support for rebel groups, the AUHIP decided to assign the African Union Commission (AUC) and the head of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to take the necessary steps to verify claims of support and harbouring of rebels.

Last June, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir ordered the suspension South Sudanese petroleum exports through Sudan’s oil installations accusing Juba of providing shelter and support to Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), which includes three Darfur rebel groups and Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Juba denies the charges and in turn claims that Khartoum is rebels in its eastern Jonglei state.

Following his meeting with Bashir in Khartoum, Mbeki was quoted as saying "We came to say to the President that the committees formed by the African Union to review the matter started its work and it is our opinion that these committees are given time to do their job".

This week the Sudanese government formally agreed to the request made by Mbeki and China to postpone for at least two weeks the deadline by which it will shutdown the pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Abu Bakr Al-Sideeg, said that the Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, will represent Sudan in AUPSC’s meeting which coincides with the meetings of the Joint Political and Security Committee (JPSC) between Sudan and South Sudan which is taking place in Juba.

The JPSC rapporteur, Al-Muiz Faroug, had previously told Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) that the meeting will discuss the security arrangements, borders and border crossings as well as complaints from each side.

In September of last year, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among other issues.

Last March, the two countries signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements.

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