By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 19, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia’s acting prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, on Tuesday confirmed that his country’s new leadership would maintain its “neutral stance” and will remain committed to support the peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan.
- Ethiopia’s acting prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, August 17, 2012 (AFP/Getty)
Hailemariam, who will be sworn in on Friday, said Ethiopia “will maintain its neutral and principled support to the two brotherly countries’ effort towards resolving their dispute.”
The acting premier made the remarks while conferring with Sudan’s defence minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, and representatives of the Sudanese negotiating team in Addis Ababa.
According to the ministry of foreign affairs, the two sides discussed ways of further enhancing bilateral ties and on ongoing Juba-Khartoum peace talks.
During the talks Hussein urged Ethiopia’s new leadership to follow in the footsteps of the late prime minister, Meles Zenawi, who played an important role in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the Sudanese civil war in 2005 and the ongoing post-independence negotiations. Zenawi died in August.
Desalegn was also briefed on the progress and setbacks encountering the on going peace talks, by Idriss Abdel-Gadir, Sudan’s chief negotiator to the African Union (AU) mediated talks between Sudan and South Sudan.
The Sudanese delegation has also briefed the acting premier on the proposal Sudan forwarded to narrow the differences on the key security issues.
The chief negotiator stressed a need for the two states to resolve security matters which he said are key to reaching agreements on all other pending issues.
He noted that “agreements had been reached on almost all matters pertaining to oil and national debt issues. On security issues, however, there were differences over the temporary map submitted by the AU High Level Implementation Panel.”
After the briefing, Hailemariam, stressed the importance of abiding by the decision of the Security Council to resolve security issues.
He told the Sudanese delegation that Addis Ababa would work on Sudan’s proposal in a bid to move forward with the peace efforts.