After five days of talks, Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir and President Salva Kiir Mayardit have managed to sign an agreement on border security issues; they failed however to reach agreement over Abyei which is being referred back to the AU Peace and Security Council.
Problems remain on other contested border regions.
The areas of agreement included a demilitarized zone along the border with both sides redeploy troops out of a 10 kilometer-wide buffer zone, including “Mile 14”. Sudan’s army will also withdraw from “Mile 14” which will revert to being run by a traditional joint administration until the area’s final status is determined. This will allow the two countries to implement the August deal on the costs of exporting South Sudan oil through Sudan and other related financial agreements.
The deal also includes eight protocols on border security arrangements, oil, economic and trade issues, and the four freedoms agreement which will allow citizens of each country the freedoms of movement, property ownership, work and residence in the other country. These protocols will come into effect after being endorsed by the parliaments of both countries.
The two countries have also agreed to implement the demarcation of their agreed border areas which represent 80 percent of the border. The remaining five disputed territories will be determined either through political agreements or by international arbitration.
No agreement was reach on Abyei after disagreement over the timing and eligibility of voters.
Sudan and South Sudan did, however, agree to continue implementation of the agreement of June 2011 on Abyei which provides for joint administrative and legislative bodies to run the region.
They also agreed to keep the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), made up of 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers, deployed.
The UN Security Council gave September 22nd as the final deadline for the two sides to reach a comprehensive agreement. Under resolution 2046 the Security Council could impose sanctions on both sides if it feels that there has been insufficient agreement.
The two Presidents thanked the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister HaileMariam Desalegn, the Chairperson and Members of AUHIP for their assistance in achieving this success.
Source: MFA – Sept. 27, 2012. Originally titled “Sudan and South Sudan ink cooperation agreement”.