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Mbeki commends bilateral dialogue between Juba and Khartoum

July 11, 2013 (JUBA) – The former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who chairs the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to mediate between South Sudan and Sudan, has commended Juba and Khartoum for the recent successful bilateral talks.

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South Sudan Vice President, Riek Machar shakes hands with the former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who chairs AUHIP, Juba, July 11, 2013 (ST)

The AUHIP, which is based in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, has been mediating negotiations between the two capitals on the outstanding post-independence issues following the split of the former Sudan on 9 July 2011.

Mbeki, who took part in celebration of the second independence anniversary on Tuesday met with the South Sudanese president and his deputy to discuss the status of the bilateral relations between Juba and Khartoum.

In his meetings with Kiir and Machar, on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, the talks centred on the recent progress and challenges facing the implementation of the cooperation agreement, particularly on the need to activate the various mechanisms for implementing the different protocols.

Following threats by Khartoum to stop the flow of South Sudanese oil after accusations of continued support to the Sudanese rebels, Mbeki proposed to the two parties a set of measures aiming to facilitate the implementation of the security arrangements between the two sides.

Although the two countries recommitted themselves to the cooperation agreements during Machar’s visit to Khartoum a week ago, they need further engagement in order to thrash out the remaining differences and fully implement the agreement.

Sudan’s first vice-president, Ali Osman Taha, is expected to lead his country’s team to Juba for further work on the issues concerned.

The two countries signed a Cooperation Agreement in September last year in addressing the issues but have faced challenges in the implementation of the nince sections of the deal, which includes security arrangements, trade and borders, among others.