Home | News    Friday 16 March 2012

AU welcomes North - South Sudan Addis Ababa accord

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 15, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – The African Union (AU) has commended the agreements reached between Khartoum and Juba after their negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

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Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir, Khartoum airport, October 2011 (reuters)

Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreements on the status of nationals in one another’s state; the demarcation of the boundary; and related issues on Tuesday under the auspices of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

In an AU statement the chairperson of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, said he is especially pleased to note the new spirit of compromise and cooperation expressed by the two parties.

The statement said the “agreement on the demarcation of the boundary and related issues” establishes institutional mechanisms responsible for overseeing and carrying out the demarcation process of Africa’s longest land border.

Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, is expected to pay a visit to Juba next week where he will ink the Addis Ababa agreements along his southern counterpart, Salva Kiir.

Bashir’s visit to South Sudan will be his first since the country seceded in July 2011.

The planned meeting between the two leaders in South Sudan is expected to seek additional negotiations to resolve disputed borders and oil fees.

Juba halted oil production in January when Khartoum allegedly confiscated 2.4 million barrels of South Sudan’s oil. This was in lieu of payment Juba refused to give Khartoum for transit fees; US$36 per barrel.

As a result of the disagreement, land-locked South Sudan is investigating alternative pipelines.

The frame-work agreements reached in Addis Ababa allows nationals of each state the rights to enjoy “freedom of residence, freedom of movement, freedom to undertake economic activity and freedom to acquire and dispose property".

The negotiations were brokered by African Union’s high-level panel, headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.