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Machar to hold talks in Khartoum on cooperation deals

June 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - South Sudanese vice-president Riek Machar is expected Sunday in Khartoum where he will hold talks with his Sudanese counterpart on the implementation of cooperation agreements signed by the two countries since September 2012.

The visit comes after a decision earlier this month by the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir to shut down oil pipelines preventing the flow of South Sudanese oil crude, which is the main source of income for the new nation.

Khartoum, which accuses Juba of continuing to provide support and harbour to rebel groups fighting the government in Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordfan, however gave Juba a delay of 60 days to fix the dispute

Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, speaker of Sudanese foreign affairs ministry, told the official news agency SUNA that the visiting delegation during two days will hold talks with government officials including first vice-president Ali Osman Taha.

The Sudanese delegation, he added, includes ministers of oil, water resources, humanitarian affairs, interior deputy minister, cabinet affairs deputy ministers and members of negotiating team who participated in the elaboration of 27 September cooperation deals.

Sudanese officials say they want the full implementation of the accords all together, alleging that South Sudan wants to use oil money to fund the rebels and topple down the regime. They also accuse some circles in Juba of working to undermine the Cooperation Agreement.

Observers point out the persisting mistrust between the two sides, saying that the unresolved issues of Abyei referendum and border disputed areas impact negatively on the implementation matrix deal signed last March.

The decision to suspend the implementation matrix includes also deployment of monitoring teams on the border within the buffer zone, cross border trade, and free movement of nationals from both sides.

(ST)