Talks adjourn: South Sudan offers Sudan alternative to AU road map
The second round of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan adjourned after six days of talking in Addis Ababa. South Sudan offered Sudan a new 'compromised proposal' in order to meet the 2 August deadline set by the UN Security Council.
The second round of African Union (AU) led negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan adjourned after six days of talking in Addis Ababa. The delegations could not agree on any pressing topics on the agenda such as a cessation of hostilities or a secured border zone. South Sudan offered Sudan a ‘compromised proposal’ in order to reach a peace agreement before the 2 August deadline as set by the United Nations Security Council.
The peace talks will continue on the 5th of July when the negotiators returned from consulting their Presidents, Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan and Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, on this new proposal of South Sudan.
Pagan Amum, head of the South Sudanese delegation, said in a press conference on Thursday the only reason for the delays in the negotiations is that ‘Sudan has not accepted the AU roadmap as a basis for the establishment of the safe demilitarized border zone’. He added that the government of Sudan refused to negotiate all outstanding issues ‘before the agenda of security is resolved to their satisfaction’.
According to Amum, the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) had not invited the two countries yet to start negotiations on these other unresolved issues. These issues include oil and related payments, the resolution of disputed areas, the status of nationals of the other state and the final status of Abyei.
South Sudan therefore ‘pro-actively’ offered Sudan a ‘compromised proposal’ that was presented as an alternative to the roadmap of the AU. In this proposal, Sudan and South Sudan get engaged in direct and ‘closed door negotiations’. All disputed areas should be demilitarized and a joint administration in these areas will be established. Amum said ‘arbitration or negotiations should then determine to which state the disputed areas belong’.
Sudan's Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein said ‘the most important thing of this round of negotiations was that it had put the delegations in the right track to address and examine core issues’.
Abdelrahim said the Khartoum delegation is confident to ‘get results as long as negotiations will continue’. South Sudan, on the other hand, called on the international community to ‘support a time bound arbitral process, over an open-ended negotiation process’. Despite this call Amum said South Sudan is hopeful that the consultations in Khartoum on his compromised proposal ‘will be positive’.
Thabo Mbeki, head of the AUHIP, praised both countries for demonstrating ‘great maturity and seriousness in their approach to the negotiations, mindful of the timeframes contained in the Roadmap and UN-security council resolution 2046’.