Members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). [AP/ File]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 10 9 June 2012 [Gurtong] - The African Union has said the two sides have committed themselves to cease hostilities that have resulted into several deaths in recent months.
Prior to insecurity threats between the two countries the African Union backed by the United Nations Security Council called on the two countries to immediately cease hostilities and resume peace talks as the way forward to resolve their differences.
“Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to respect the cessation of hostilities and the unconditional withdrawal of forces to their side of the border. They agreed to cease harbouring and supporting rebels against the other state”, an AU statement released after the conclusion of talks between the two sides in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa read.
The AU refuted media reports that the two sides did not reach a deal on security.
“They committed themselves immediately to deploy their national observers to the temporary headquarters of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission (JBVMM) in Assosa, Ethiopia. The two sides also agreed to nominate representatives to activate the Ad Hoc Committee, a body agreed by the parties to deal with allegations and counter allegations between the two states” said the AU.
The parties also provisionally endorsed terms of reference of the Joint Monitoring and Observer Committee (JMOC) and agreed to formally adopt the terms of reference at its next session, to be held in Abyei on 5 July 2012. The JMOC is expected to play a key role in the provision of security in Abyei.
Prior to the break away of South Sudan last July, relations between the two countries have remained frosty.
A number of post secession issues, including oil, citizenship, border demarcation and the contention over Abyei have contributed to the hostilities.