Sudan accepts AU plan to end tension with South

Sudan Foreign Ministry spokesman has announced the country’s agreement with the proposals tabled by the African Union (AU) to resolve tensions with South Sudan.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) and Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir shake hands at the State House in Juba on April 12, 2013.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) and Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir shake hands at State House in Juba on April 12, 2013.

“The government has officially agreed on the proposals presented by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) concerning the relationship with South Sudan,” said Abu Bakr al-Siddiq on Sunday.

According to Siddiq, the proposals include mandating the AU border program to form a consultative team to delineate the zero line for a demilitarized zone based on the date incorporated in the map presented by the AUHIP for both neighboring states.

The AU package also stipulates that the process must begin on June 18 and last for six weeks, the Sudanese diplomat pointed out.

The team will then discuss the outcomes of its work with the two countries’ joint security and political committee, he added.

Tensions escalated between Sudan and South Sudan after Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir ordered the stoppage of oil transfers through Sudanese territory from South Sudan, saying the government of President Salva Kiir is supporting rebels in Sudan.

Juba denies Khartoum’s accusations of supporting insurgents in Sudan, and in turn accuses Khartoum of propping up rebels in southern regions.

In March, Sudan and South Sudan struck a deal to resume the flow of southern oil exports through pipelines in the north. The pipelines, which are South Sudan’s only route to international market, carry oil from the landlocked South through Sudan to a port on the Red Sea.

Two neighbors also agreed to withdraw their troops from contested border areas to ease tensions and facilitate the resumption of oil exports.

South Sudan seceded from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict with Khartoum. The new oil-rich nation is one of the least-developed countries in the world with one in seven children dying before the age of five.

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