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Sudan accuses South Sudan of backtracking from joint cooperation deal


13:59, January 29, 2013

KHARTOUM, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Sudan accused Monday South Sudan of backtracking from implementing the items of a joint cooperation deal signed by the two countries' presidents in Ethiopia in September.

"The South Sudan government has backtracked from approving the Mile 14 area as a completely demilitarized area as stipulated in the security arrangements agreement and according to the African Union security map upon which the security arrangements agreement was based in the cooperation deal between the two countries," Idris Abdul-Ghader, head of the Sudanese government's delegation to the negotiations with South Sudan, told reporters upon the delegation's return to Sudan's capital of Khartoum Monday.

On Sept. 27, 2012, Sudan and South Sudan inked three deals on cooperation, security and post-secession matters during a presidential summit in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Abdul-Ghader said South Sudan's government attempted to add new areas other than the five areas which have already been under negotiations, pointing out that South Sudan claimed that the width of the area was 123 km, not 284 km.

He reiterated Sudan's commitment to the area's security map approved in the security arrangements agreement between the two countries and to make it a completely demilitarized area.

The Mile 14 area on the border between Sudan's East Darfur State and South Sudan is considered a strategic area as for its fertile soil, natural pastures and water resources.

Abdul-Ghader said the two sides have mandated African experts to provide an unbinding legal viewpoint regarding the five disputed areas, reiterating that South Sudan's attempt to add new areas was contradicting the cooperation deal and crippling to the demarcation of the border between them.

He added that South Sudan was also not committed to the establishment of the administration and legislative council of the disputed Abyei area which hampered the negotiations between the two countries on the final status of the area.

Local Sudanese media earlier reported that a summit held between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit in Addis Ababa Friday ended without reaching any agreement on the outstanding issues between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Abdul-Ghader disclosed that a meeting for the joint political and security committee between the two countries would be held on Feb. 13 with the support of African mediation to complete the negotiations on the issue of the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

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