Chief African Union (AU) mediator between Sudan and South Sudan, Thabo Mbeki is optimistic that the date for the resumption of talks between the two feuding nations will be set this week.
Mbeki made the remark in Juba Monday after after a meeting with President Salva Kiir and South Sudan lead negotiator, Pagan Amum.
“We are going back to Khartoum to consult and I am quite sure that within this week we will agree on a date,” he said.
Mbeki is trying to bring the two Sudans back to the negotiating table at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to try to resolve oil, security and border disputes that triggered an outbreak of border fighting between the two countries' armies last month.
The April clashes over a border oil town of Heglig raised fears that the two countries might plunge back into an all-out war, prompting the UN Security Council to warn Juba and Khartoum earlier this month to negotiate peacefully or face sanctions.
Mbeki arrived in Juba from Khartoum on Monday morning to consult the leadership of South Sudan on the implementation of the AU roadmap and the UN Security Council resolution on the two countries.
The former South African President said he was happy with the position of President Kiir, the negotiating team of South Sudan and the members of the joint political and security mechanism that talks resume urgently.
“The message they communicated to the panel is that it is very urgent that the programs indicated in the African Union roadmap and UN Security Council resolution need to be implemented as a matter of urgency,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Mbeki said the government of South Sudan had committed itself to respecting all the processes and producing positive results as required by the AU roadmap and UN Security Council resolution..
“It is important that our panel convenes the two parties as urgently as possible so that they can together look at the practical steps that would be taken,” he said.
The mediator said the panel was in agreement with the leadership of South Sudan.
“We are in complete agreement about the steps to be taken to make sure that we are able to speed up the process of negotiating all the outstanding issues so that a final resolution is reached,” Mbeki noted.
Speaking earlier upon arrival at Juba International airport from Khartoum, Mbeki said the two governments need to meet urgently.
“Everybody has the view that everything needs to be done urgently to get the two governments to meet and address the security matters,” Mbeki told reporters.
He added that action needs to be taken as quick as possible on the security of the two countries.
“Everybody is conscious of the decisions taken by the African Union and United Nations Security Council and we are here to consult on that so that action can be taken as quickly as possible.” He said.
He pointed out that the Sudanese President, Omar Al Bashir had committed himself to implementing the existing agreements between the two countries on security matters to ensure peace.
“President Bashir said he will direct his own people to act to engage in these negotiations as it is required,” Mbeki said.
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Friday, 7 September 2012