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AU urges Khartoum and Juba to respect Addis Ababa pact

By Julius N. Uma

February 15, 2012 (JUBA) The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission on Wednesday urged both Khartoum and Juba to respect the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on non-aggression and cooperation signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week.

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Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping (AFP)

Jean Ping, in a statement sent to Sudan Tribune said it was vital for the two countries to refrain from actions or statements likely to complicate the post-succession negotiations under the mediation of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

“He [Ping] urges the leadership in the two countries to demonstrate the required spirit of compromise and mutual accommodation, as well as to extend unreserved cooperation to the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), in the conduct of its facilitation role,” reads part of the statement.

The AU, its Chairperson reiterated, will continue to closely follow the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan on their post-secession relations until a successful conclusion is reached.

The African body, Ping further noted, will continue monitoring the situation on the ground, with a view to keeping the Peace and Security Council (PSC) fully informed of the implementation status of the MoU, especially in view of the continued allegations and counter allegations of incidents, bombardments and troop movements along the common border.

On Tuesday, talks between the two failed after both nations failed to reach a compromise after five days of negotiations in the Ethiopian capital. A proposal tabled by Khartoum detailing its position on oil transit fees and how it should be calculated per barrel of crude exported by South Sudan through the pipelines was rejected by their Southern counterparts.

Khartoum’s demand of $36 per barrel of oil has been described by South Sudan as unrealistic, with the latter suggesting the fee should be around $1 per barrel.

Early this week, South Sudan accused Khartoum of violating the recently signed pact on non-aggression and cooperation, by allegedly preventing the movement of barges back to Juba. It also accused forces from its northern neighbour of having carried out attacks in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states.