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The African Union Welcomes the Signing of Security and Implementation Agreements between Sudan and South Sudan

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomes the outcomes of the extraordinary session of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM), held in Addis Ababa, from 22 to 23 April 2013, and the Lead Negotiating Panel (LNP), held between 18 and 23 April 2013, between the Government of Sudan and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan.

The meetings were convened by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP). The meeting of the JPSM was co-chaired by the Minister of Defense of Sudan, First Lieutenant-General Abdul-Raheem Mohammed Hussein, and the Minister of Irrigation and Water Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan, Mr. Paul Mayom Akech. The meeting of the LNP was co-chaired by Minister Idriss Abdelgadir of the Sudan and Minister Deng Alor Kuol of the Republic of South Sudan.

The Chairperson of the Commission commends the Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for his work in assisting the Parties to implement the security agreements. In this respect, she notes the briefing given by him on the establishment of the various monitoring bodies related to the implementation of the security agreements, including the demilitarization of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone and the verification of concerns and complaints of the Parties.

At the same time, the Chairperson of the Commission notes the Force Commander's report that on-the ground monitoring and verification of complaints and concerns cannot be completed until the Joint Border Monitoring and Verification Mission (JBVMM) and the various ad hoc committees have been established. In this regard, she reiterates AU's urgent appeal to the United Nations Security Council for it to adopt the necessary resolutions to increase the authorized strength of UNISFA, in order to enable it to fulfill its mandate, including verification of force disengagement and demilitarization on the ground in the SDBZ.

The Chairperson of the Commission notes with satisfaction that this meeting marks the final extraordinary meeting of the JPSM held under the auspices of the AUHIP, and that future meetings of the JPSM will be ordinary meetings, convened and managed by the Parties themselves. The AUHIP will nonetheless continue to support the process for the foreseeable future, including through the provision of expertise as and when requested by the Parties.

The Chairperson of the Commission welcomes the decision by the Parties to establish ten border crossing points along their border, of which eight would open immediately, as an important step in the integration process between Sudan and South Sudan.

The Chairperson of the Commission further welcomes the decision by the LNP to adopt the Mechanisms for Implementation, Monitoring, Evaluation and Dispute Resolution relating to the Cooperation Agreement. The Mechanisms elaborate the different levels of oversight and coordination of all the elements of the Cooperation Agreement culminating in regular Summits of the Heads of State of the two countries.

The Chairperson of the Commission commends the continued progress of the Parties in establishing two mutually viable states living together in peace and prosperity. She commends the AUHIP, for its continued commitment to accompanying the leadership of Sudan and South Sudan.