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The second round of African Union (AU) led negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan were adjourned on Thursday, June 28 after six days of talks in Addis Ababa. The delegations could not agree on any pressing topics on the agenda such as a termination of hostilities or a secured border zone.

South Sudan offered Sudan a direct negotiation without the involvement of the African Union that would lead the negotiation to reach a peace agreement before the 2nd of August deadline set by the United Nation Security Council. The decision to have the closed door negotiation came as a result of the government of Sudan rejecting discussions about any of the topics presented in the ‘Roadmap’ as agreed to by the UN and AU.

“The Republic of South Sudan has accepted the United Nations or African Union high implementation panel that was referred to as the November 2011 AUHIP panel map. We have accepted the map as the bases for the establishment of a safe demilitarized zone. Unfortunately the government of Sudan has not accepted this map because one of the disputed areas is proposed for South Sudan,” stated Pagan Amum, Head of the South Sudanese delegation.

At a press conference held on Thursday July 26th 2012 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Amum stated that South Sudan has proposed demilitarizing the disputed areas including the area which is now in Southern Sudan 14 miles from the Khor Yabus River.

“We want to establish a joint administration in all the disputed areas until an agreement is reached, then the joint administration will end and the disputed areas will go to whichever side the agreement stipulates,” he also stated.

According to Amum, the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) had not invited the two countries yet to start negotiations on these and other unresolved issues. These include oil and related payments, the resolution of disputed areas and the status of nationals of the other state.

“The government of Sudan is taking the proposal we have made home to discuss it and we are hopeful that they will reach a resolution on this matter of the establishment of the demilitarized safe zone. And we hope to soon reach a decision that will enhance peace and security around the border area of the two countries,” said Amum.

It was also stated at the press conference that the closed door discussions between the two countries has so far showed positive movement. Both sides have discussed the possibility of resuming a strategic comprehensive approach to negotiate all outstanding issues.

“We hope to reach an agreement on all the issues, an agreement that will make the two countries achieve their mutual interest, peace and security and co-existence and change the situation from hostility to peace and cooperation  between the two countries,” stated Amum.

In a related development the Chairperson of the AU Jean Ping welcomes the acceptance by the Government of Sudan of the tripartite proposal of the African Union, United Nations and the League of Arabs States for access to provide and deliver humanitarian assistance to the war affected areas and civilians in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, said in a press statement.

The Chairperson also stated AU’s continued commitment to assisting the Sudanese parties through the African Union High Level Implementing Panel on Sudan in finding a lasting solution to their challenges. In this respect, and in line with the AU Roadmap, the Chairperson of the Commission reiterates AU’s conviction that a political settlement is the only long-term solution to the crisis in the two states.