Sudan-South Sudan talks collapse in Addis AbabaBy MACHEL AMOS in Juba | Saturday, June 9 2012 at 11:29
The African Union-led talks between Sudan and the rival South Sudan collapsed on Friday after more than a week of close deliberations in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial said Sudan rejected the inclusion of the oil-producing Heglig region in the list of disputed border areas.
Heglig, where Sudan currently produces about half of its oil, was the scene of fierce confrontation between the armies of the two neighbours in April and was seized by southern troops before eventually the north retook it.
South Sudan claims ownership of Heglig region, which was administered as a southern territory till 2005. It said the area was also being used as a military base to plan and execute attacks on its territory.
However, the troops later pulled back from the region ten days later in response to pressure from the United Nations Security Council.
Mr Nhial told a UN-sponsored radio that the two teams could not agree on the extension of a demilitarized zone, accusing Khartoum of failing to present an honest position.
“We have nothing to lose for we have presented our side in goodwill unlike Sudan which did not,” Mr Nhial said.
However, the Sudanese Defence Minister refuted the allegations, accusing South Sudan of stalling the talks.
The two former foes, which fought two decades of a brutal civil war that claimed more than 2 million lives and displaced millions more between 1983 and 2005, are bound by a UN Security Council resolution to agree on the pending issues before August.
After the secession of South Sudan in July last year as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended the civil strife, both sides were expected to agree on borders, oil transit fees, the status of the disputed Abyei region, security, citizenship and mutual cooperation, among others.
If no agreement is reached on the issues, the AU will produce its proposal, which when endorsed by the UN Security Council shall be imposed on the two countries.
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