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JUBA - 8 Jan 2013

No Abyei deal at Sudans' summit: Amum

South Sudan's chief negotiator Pagan Amum said on Monday in a press conference in Juba that the weekend presidential summit failed to reach any agreement on the final status of Abyei.

The summit between Omar al-Basir and Salva Kiir of Sudan and South Sudan was held last Friday and Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The presidents were widely reported to have recommitted themselves to earlier agreements, with measured progress on the Abyei file in particular. 

According to the African Union's official outcomes document on the summit, the presidents agreed that the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee should meet to establish the Abyei Area council, police and administration. 

Amum, however, described the summit as a failure in terms of resolving Abyei's final status. “The summit failed to reach any agreement on the final status of Abyei, but the two presidents have agreed to hold another summit within this month to discuss the final status of Abyei,” he said.

“Maybe on the 20th of January before the meeting of the African Union summit,” Amum said.

The AU outcomes document published Saturday indicated that the convening of the next presidential meeting on Abyei will be conditional on the formation of the Abyei council and administration, and the preparation by mediators of a ‘matrix’ on implementation of existing agreements.

South Sudan's government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin likewise indicated that the presidential summit had not met expectations, telling reporters in Juba that the Council of Ministers had taken note of the AU report on the summit with certain reservations.

Amum also explained there were two other items on the agenda: resolution of the border conflict in the disputed and claimed areas, and the implementation of previously signed deals including the Cooperation Agreements of last September.

According to the negotiator, the two presidents have agreed to resolve the conflict of the disputed and claimed areas and will later on discuss the process of how to implement this in their next meeting.

“The two presidents discussed disputed and claimed areas and have agreed to resolve the conflict over these areas,” he said.

Despite this, the South Sudanese negotiator expressed concern that Sudanese leaders might change their mind on the process of implementation, adding that Sudan is not dependable.

“On this issue of course South Sudan, we have worries that the Republic of Sudan may take advantage of the prioritization of the disputed areas not to resolve the claimed areas and which will lead to the two countries having serious problems over the claimed areas,” he said.

The chief negotiator also disclosed that Basir and Kiir agreed to implement the cooperation agreements without any preconditions.

“Now they have agreed to implement all these agreements unconditionally,” he said.

The senior government official this time openly and publically announced that Sudan is undependable and unreliable, pointing out that South Sudan was working on alternatives if the deal does not materialize.

He mentioned South Sudan is already working on the establishment of the local refineries which he said will provide fuel for both local consumption and selling to the neighboring countries.