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Communiqué of the sixth meeting of Sudan-South Sudan consultative forum

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Communiqué of the sixth meeting of Sudan-South Sudan consultative forum, at United Nations headquarters, New York, 27 September 2013

1. The Sudan-South Sudan Consultative Forum (SSSCF), initially established as the Sudan Consultative Forum on 8 May 2010, held its sixth meeting at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, on 27 September 2013. The meeting was co-chaired by the UN Deputy-Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, and President Abdulsalami Abubakar of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel.

2. In addition to the AU and the UN, the following States and organizations participated in the meeting: (i) neighbouring countries of South Sudan and Sudan, namely Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia (currently also Chair of IGAD and of the AU), Libya and Uganda; (ii) the permanent members of the UN Security Council – UNSC — (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America), as well as Rwanda and Togo as AU Member States on the UNSC; Australia, President of the UN Security Council for the month of September and Côte d’Ivoire, Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council for the month of September (iv) Norway and Qatar; (v) Algeria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria and Turkey; (vi) IGAD (Secretariat), the League of Arab States (Secretariat and Chair), the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the African Development Bank and the World Bank

3. The meeting was convened to review progress made in the implementation of the 27 September Cooperation Agreements between Sudan and South Sudan, to reaffirm international support to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel facilitation and discuss the positions and proposals expressed in the 23 September AUPSC Summit Communiqué.

4. Participants heard presentations from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan, Mr. Ali Ahmed Karti, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan, Mr. Benjamin Marial. Participants also received a briefing from H.E. President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), and Dr Teodros Adhanom, Foreign Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the current Chair of IGAD and of the African Union. These were followed by an interactive discussion.

5. Participants commended President Omer Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan for the outcomes of their Presidential summit held in Khartoum on 3 September and their agreement to resume indefinitely oil flows between the two countries. They commended the two Presidents for demonstrating constructive leadership and political will to implement all Cooperation agreements and address all outstanding issues without further delay.

6. Participants praised the AUHIP, the AU Commission and IGAD for facilitating the resolution of remaining disputes between the Parties, notably with respect to allegations of support to one another’s rebel groups and the exact determination of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SBDZ) centerline. They acknowledged the contribution of the AU Border Programme to the ongoing efforts.

7. Participants commended the work of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, UNISFA and other international partners for their support to the peace consolidation efforts led by the African Union.

8. Participants expressed their concern for the deteriorating political environment in the Abyei area and the risk that unilateral actions by Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities lead to security incidents costly in human lives. They called on the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) to resume its activities and provide the guidance and leadership necessary for the rapid and safe return of refugees and displaced persons, a peaceful 2013-2014 Misseriya migration, and maintain Abyei a weapons free area.

9. Participants took note with appreciation of the 23 September 2013 AUPSC Communiqué which inter alia welcomed the commitment of the two countries to expeditiously implement the 20 June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area and urged the two governments to establish the Abyei Area Referendum Commission and refrain from undertaking unilateral actions and encourages implementation of such commitments.

10. Participants strongly encouraged the Parties to urgently resume discussions over the 21 September 2012 AUHIP proposal and resolve the determination of the final status of Abyei through a mutually acceptable arrangement. Participants re-affirmed the right for Abyei residents to determine their political future, and the right of continued access for migratory populations.

11. Participants welcome the AUPSC decision to visit Abyei in October, and look forward to its assessment and recommendations.

12. Participants welcomed the convening of the Joint Security Committee in Juba from 24th to 26th September and strongly urged the Parties to agree on the coordinates of the SBDZ centerline and fully implement all border security arrangements, including the complete withdrawal of all forces from the SBDZ.

13. Participants also urged the Parties to complete expeditiously the negotiations related to the disputed and claimed border areas, and proceed with border demarcation. They welcomed the plan to convene a conference on the issue of soft border, under the auspices of the AU with other international partners, to be presided over by the two Vice-Presidents and including the Governors of the states of Sudan and South Sudan adjoining the common border, in order to expedite cooperation;

14. Participants welcomed the efforts of the AUHIP and the Chair of IGAD to assist the Parties to resolve the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States. They urged the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N to cease hostilities and engage in direct talks to end the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile on the basis of the 28 June 2011 Agreement.

15. Expressing grave concern regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States of Sudan, participants called on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians, to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid to all civilians in urgent need of assistance in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, and to fully respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law. In this regard, they emphasized that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law must be held accountable. Participants also called on all parties to urgently resolve all technical problems to allow the conduct of an anti-polio vaccination campaign for children;

16. Participants also urged the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to seek peaceful resolutions to internal armed conflicts in South Sudan, especially the on-going conflict in Jonglei State;

17. Participants agreed with the AUPSC Communiqué of 23 September that the guiding principles of democratic inclusiveness and unity in diversity should inform the goals and processes of nationally owned and led dialogue and constitution making in the two sovereign nations of South Sudan and Sudan in the coming year and reaffirmed their commitment to support the facilitation of the AUHIP to assist the two governments in managing these nationally owned and led processes and address their governance and democratic transformation challenges. Participants concurred that the peaceful resolution of internal conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan and democratic, inclusive and legitimate process of national consultation and constitution-building are complementary.

18. Participants also agreed with the AUPSC Communiqué of 23 September that, for the two nations of South Sudan and Sudan to achieve the agreed goal of two viable states living peacefully with one another and with the wider region, it will be necessary for both to embark upon sustainable development, poverty reduction, the provision of essential services, and economic integration. They also agreed that for these goals to be realized, the cooperation of international partners will be required, in particular for debt relief, the lifting of economic sanctions, and the provision of development assistance and cooperation. They thus welcomed the efforts of South Sudan and Sudan to engage in a joint outreach to international partners in order to achieve these interlinked goals;

19. Participants agreed to reconvene on the margins of the next AU Summit to review progress made in the implementation of the agreements, and encouraged the African Union to continue supporting their implementation.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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