Sudan and South Sudan to resume negotiations
After weeks of fighting, in which South Sudan took out one of Sudan's last remaining oil fields, the two countries are returning to the negotiation table, under African Union mediation.
Good reads: Freedom of speech, YouTube cats, and campaign strategy
Good Reads: Hillsborough, rural Russians, and chasing dreams of spaceflight
Good Reads: Israel's Iran debate, Scalia's 'originalism,' and blasphemy in Pakistan
Good Reads: Volcanoes, guillotines, and the key to happiness
The real danger for South Africa after Lonmin mine shooting
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
After a series of aerial bombing raids on South Sudan from their northern neighbor, South Sudan’s Army moved across the border into the Sudan oil town of Heglig in April, shutting down oil production before withdrawing.
South Sudan separated from Sudan in July 2011 after a referendum. Since then, clashes between the two have become a regular occurrence, partly because a proper demarcation of borders or an agreed plan for sharing oil revenues was never officially decided.
The United Nations has demanded that Sudan and South Sudan put an end to fighting, and Sudan’s chief spokesman Al-Obeid Meruh, confirmed that Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to an immediate cease-fire. The resumption of talks next week in Addis Ababa, announced by the African Union’s designated mediator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, offers the first chance to start the process of resolving those unaddressed issues.
"The two parties already started to implement the resolution and the roadmap. The meeting will discuss the progress of implementation," Mr. Meruh told Agence France Presse news agency.
RELATED South Sudan: 5 key questions
The office of South Sudan’s chief negotiator, Pagan Amum, told Reuters that the South would join talks as well. "The government of South Sudan requested for a meeting to convene as soon as possible... We agreed to recommence negotiations on May 29,” Mr. Amum’s office said in a statement.
Given the amount of diplomatic capital spent on bringing peace between Sudan and South Sudan – their brutal 20-year civil war ended with a 2005 peace deal; and given the economic need to get South Sudan’s oilfields pumping again – South Sudan shut all production after disputes with Sudan about Sudan’s oil pipeline fees to its Port Said – resumption of peace talks will be welcome.