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Sudan Tribune

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S. Sudan forms high-level committees to implement agreement

March 16, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s cabinet on Friday formed two high-level committees to oversee the implementation of the agreements it reached this week with Sudan.

South Sudan's minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, on 13 September 2011 (ST)
South Sudan’s minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, on 13 September 2011 (ST)
According to a South Sudanese government spokesperson, the Council of Ministers unanimously approved the formation of the committees, during its weekly sitting chaired by president Salva Kiir.

Information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the two committees were formed after the government’s lead negotiator in post-independence talks with Sudan briefed cabinet on the terms of the implementation matrix agreement, brokered by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) between the two parties.

At talks on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the delegations of Sudan and South Sudan agreed to allow for the resumption of oil exports that were suspended last year after a dispute over transit fees.

“The members of the committee will be drawn from relevant institutions with key related functions”, Marial told reporters in the capital, Juba.

Another committee will be required to coordinate with the Sudanese government, with its work to begin with immediate effect, he added.

“A coordinating committee had been formed with clear tasks and mandates by the council [of ministers]. They are mandated to coordinate with Sudan’s implementation matrix. They have already started working [and] made some successful contacts with Sudan today”, said Marial.

Pagan Amum, the country’s lead negotiator, said implementation of the deal would signal a new era of cooperation and build better relations between the two countries.

“It is our hope [that] this agreement will not face new challenges. We hope the spirit in which it has been signed will be maintained so that its implementation opens up and turns a new page of cooperation and builds better relations between the countries”, Amum told reporters on Friday.

He reiterated the young nation’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of its disputes with Sudan, emphasising the principle of two countries living side by side in harmony with each other.

Meanwhile, Amum has denied allegations that South Sudan was providing support to rebels fighting the Sudanese government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, saying they had no interest in interfering with the internal affairs of another sovereign nation.

Both Sudan and South Sudan signed a cooperation agreement in September last year, covering oil and citizenship rights, as well as security issues, among others.
However, implementation of the deal subsequently stalled over Khartoum’s insistence that Juba sever its ties with Sudanese rebel groups.

“We have said many times in various forums and venues that we do not have any connection with the Sudanese rebels, especially the SPLM-N [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North]. What is happening [in] South Kordofan and Blue Nile is purely [an] internal Sudanese affair, in which we do not have to interfere”, Amum said.

These are different groups with different reasons for fighting, he added.