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Addis Ababa, 19 January 2013: The Government of Sudan and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan met in Addis Ababa from 12 to 19 January 2013, to discuss the implementation of the Agreements they have signed. The discussions, facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP), focused on security issues, the establishment of the Abyei Administration, and the adoption of a matrix to facilitate the implementation of the range of agreements between the Parties.  

Sudan and South Sudan signed and ratified agreements last year on security, border issues, economic issues, oil, status of nationals of the other State and the Abyei Area, among others.

Security Issues

During the extraordinary meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM), chaired by the AUHIP, the Parties made substantial progress and agreed on three critical issues: a detailed and time-bound implementation matrix covering all security issues; a matrix for processing security-related complaints and concerns of the Parties - which the Parties have started to use; and the speedy establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ).

In particular, the JPSM agreed to operationalize the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). The meeting identified the location of the JBVMM temporary headquarters in Kadugli, Sudan, as well as the location of sector headquarters, one in each country. The JPSM also agreed to request the United Nations to increase the number of military personnel in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), providing protection the JBVMM border monitors. 

The Parties took key steps towards the demilitarization of the SDBZ: both Parties have separately declared that they have withdrawn all their forces to their side of the centre line of the SDBZ. The JPSM held constructive discussions on the demilitarization of the “14-mile Area” (a section of the border) and remains seized of the matter.

 

The above steps represent considerable progress, building on earlier decisions of the JPSM, and the Panel is confident that the Parties will implement all their obligations to demilitarise the SDBZ, and that the two States, through the oversight of the JPSM, will enhance their cooperation in security-related issues.

The Administration of Abyei Area

Following decisions taken by H.E. President Omar Hassan Bashir and H.E, President Salva Kiir Mayardit at their Summit from 4 to 5 January 2013 in Addis Ababa, the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) discussed the constitution of the Abyei Area Administration, the Abyei Area Council, and the Abyei Police Service.

The AJOC meeting adopted all nominees for the Abyei Area Administration, proposed by the two Governments, and agreed to continue technical preparations for establishing the police service. Representatives of both States will hold a special meeting in Abyei, on 30 January 2013, to deliberate on proposals relating to the police. The AJOC has referred the matter of the composition of the Council to the respective Presidents for guidance. 

 Implementation matrix

As requested by the two Presidents on 5 January 2013, the AUHIP presented to the Parties a draft implementation matrix covering the whole spectrum of activities provided for in the 27 September 2012 agreements. The matrix will enable the two States to monitor more effectively the status of implementation of all their agreements. The Parties made substantial progress in reviewing the draft matrix and reached understandings on key actions and timing required for the effective implementation of the terms and conditions of the cooperation agreements.  They will have further discussions on: the sequence and timing for the consideration of the disputed and claimed border areas; the resolution of the issues relating to the SUDAPET oil company; and the key issue on when oil exports could resume and under what circumstances.

The AUHIP welcomes the progress made by the Parties, and is encouraged by the continued engagement of the delegations towards the implementation of the cooperation agreements. The AUHIP will continue to engage the Parties, and is confident that the occasion of the forthcoming AU Summit at the end of January, will present a further opportunity for the two Presidents to make further progress in resolving the outstanding issues, which are critical for the establishment of peaceful relations between the two states and for their mutual viability and prosperity.

 

Posted by Hanna Zerihun
Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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