Six weeks has been given to Sudan and South Sudan to reach a deal on the flashpoint state Abyei by the African Union Security Council on Wednesday.
The council has requested that the two parties should engage in seeking a consensus on the final status of the Abyei area within the period of six weeks says the AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra. Two weeks has also been given to Sudan and South Sudan to come to an agreement process for the resolution of five other disputed border areas. The two former civil war rivals had failed to reach on an arrangement on Abyei and other contested border regions after long talks between the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan in September.
The AU Security Council met at the ministerial level on Wednesday, where the ongoing crisis in northern Mali was also discussed. The AU has called on Sudan to negotiate with one of the principle rebel groups, the Southern People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLMN) and condemned Khartoum for not promoting peace talks. The council had expresses profound regret that the government of Sudan and the SPLM-North has failed to convene direct negotiations and calls on them immediately to do so.
Both sides had written down agreements on oil and established a secure buffer zone along the disputed border. Lamamra highly praised the progress made in the latest round of talks, but advise both sides to come to a quick solution of outstanding issues. He did not say what consequences will be for the two countries if no deal is reached in the time frame set out but instead said he remained hopeful a solution could be found.
Talks between Sudan and South Sudan have been ongoing since Juba gained independence in July 2011. This year the two countries came close to an all-out war, prompting the United Nations to set a deadline for both sides to reach a comprehensive deal on outstanding issues. The disputed border remains a major sticking point in the talks, as violence has erupted sporadically in several flashpoint states.