Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The African Union (AU) on Monday called on the international community, including the UN and bilateral partners, to continue to support the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in its efforts to resolve outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan, according to an AU press statement received here by PANA.
The AUHIP is facilitating negotiations between the two States, encouraging the Parties to reach agreement.
The statement indicated that the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, welcomes the recent informal interactive dialogue between the AUHIP and the UN Security Council, held in New York on 27 February, during which members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the leading role played by the AUHIP.
It pointed out that Ping had noted that the negotiations on outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan will resume in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 6 March under the facilitation of the AUHIP.
The agenda includes citizenship and nationality, border issues as well as financial and other arrangements concerning the transshipment of South Sudanese oil through Sudan, and the use of Sudanese oil infrastructure by South Sudan, which would allow for the resumption of South Sudanese oil production and the resolution of all claims by both countries on matters related to oil.
Security concerns will be dealt with through the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM), scheduled to meet in Juba, South Sudan, on 8 March, 2012.
Beginning in July 2010, the AUHIP has facilitated negotiations between the two Parties on post-referendum and post-secession arrangements. While progress was made, a number of key issues are still outstanding.
“The Chairperson of the Commission calls on the Parties to seize the opportunity of the forthcoming negotiations to reach agreement on the outstanding issues, in line with the agreed principle of two viable states mutually supportive and living side-by-side in peace” the release said, adding that Dr. Ping had urged the parties to “approach the negotiations with the required spirit of compromise."
It said a common commitment by the “two viable States” is by necessity the only principle on which Sudan and South Sudan can achieve their respective national goals of development, democratization and stability.
On citizenship and nationality, the Parties have agreed to a “citizenship transitional period” that would last nine months after the secession of South Sudan, during which time the status of South Sudanese nationals in Sudan and Sudanese nationals in South Sudan would be regularized.
There are at least 700,000 South Sudanese living in Sudan alone. As the date of the end of the citizenship transitional period approaches (8 April), far more needs to be done to protect the rights and welfare of these people.
The AUHIP is working with the Parties on the extension of the transition period and Ping has urged the two countries to scale up the issuance of identity documents to nationals of one country in the other, or to facilitate the return to their country of origin for those who wish to do so.
On the demarcation of their common border, as well as the resolution of the status of the disputed areas, Ping called on Sudan and South Sudan to pay attention to Africa’s best practices in border management, and especially to uphold the principle of a soft border.
Existing patterns of migration, settlement and trade across the border should continue uninterrupted as far as possible.
-0- PANA MO/VAO 5March2012