By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 25th April 2012 [Gurtong]
The high decision was reached yesterday during the 319th AU Peace and Security Council meeting held at its highest ministerial level on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan. Other countries also on the agenda were Mali and Guinea Bissau.
In the communiqué endorsed by the Council, it has noted with concern that the current situation between the two countries is proving to become a regional threat to peace and stability and resolved the situation needed to be ended with all means.
It “urges the parties to unconditionally resume negotiations, under the auspices of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and with the support of the Chairman of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), within two weeks; a time to be set by the Panel in consultation with relevant international partners, to reach the agreement.”
The Council has demanded the two parties to immediately finalize talks on;
Arrangements concerning oil and associated payments,
The nationality status of one country resident in the other in accordance with the Framework Agreement initialled in March 2012,
Resolution of the status of the disputed and claimed border areas and the demarcation of the border, and
The final status of Abyei.
It also called for immediate cessation of all hostilities, including aerial bombardments within 48 hours; unconditional withdrawal of all of their armed forces to their side of the border, in accordance with previously adopted agreements, including the agreement on the Border Monitoring Support Mission of 30 July 2011;
“Should these negotiations fail to result in an agreement on any or all of the issues identified…within the allotted timeframe of three months, the council requests the AUHIP to submit to it a comprehensive report on the status of the negotiations, including detailed proposals on all outstanding issues, to be endorsed as final and binding solutions to the post‐secession relations,” the communiqué states.
“Failure by either Party to implement the provisions of the roadmap outlined…or to cooperate in good faith with the panel towards the conclusion of the negotiations on the outstanding issues as enumerated….will result in the council taking appropriate measures, as provided for in the Peace and Security Council Protocol and the Constitutive Act of the AU, and to seek the support of the UN Security Council and all AU partners to measures it may take,” the statement added.
The AU Security Council Communiqué appears strong in ending the hostilities between the two countries. However, researchers have expressed pessimism over the decision.
Dr Leben Nelson Moro is a researcher at the Centre for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba. He commended when contacted by Gurtong on the AU Communiqué that;
“The AU has got a history on doing things by saying…I’m not certain that people will take the AU serious. It is only that the AU is using the same language with the UN and perhaps this may give more weight,” Leben said.