United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed meeting of the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan, aimed at resolving a range of issues between their countries, according to his spokesperson.
The meeting between Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is taking place in Ethiopia – hosted by that country’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn – with the facilitation of Thabo Mbeki, the chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).
“The Secretary-General encourages both Presidents to address decisively all outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan regarding security, border demarcation and the final status of the Abyei Area, to urgently activate agreed border security mechanisms, and implement all other agreements signed on 27 September 2012,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson added in a statement today.
“The United Nations stands ready to support the parties in implementing their agreements and to assist in the resolution of all remaining disputes,” he added.
South Sudan became the world’s newest country on 9 July 2011. Its birth was the culmination of a six-year peace process which helped bring an end to the long-running conflict between South Sudan and Sudan, which it was formerly a part of.
However, the peace between the two countries had been threatened in 2012 by armed clashes along their common border and outstanding post-independence issues that had yet to be resolved.
In late September last year, the two countries’ leaders met in Ethiopia to finalize agreements on issues being discussed under talks – held under the auspices of the AUHIP – which were designed to enable them to fulfil their obligations under a so-called roadmap aimed at easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing relations between the two countries. At the meeting, the two countries reached a key framework agreement for cooperation – particularly in security, the common border and economic relations.
The final status of Abyei, a disputed region straddling the border between the two countries, has yet to be determined – it is one of the outstanding issues of the so-called Comprehensive Peace Agreement which helped bring an end to the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, before the latter’s independence.