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Sudan parties conclude post referendum talks

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Former South African President Thabo Mbeki escorts Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) chairperson Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil to announce the official voting results at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum on Feb. 7. / Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

By George Okore  

Parties to Sudan’s six-day post-referendum talks have concluded negotiations on oil, foreign debt and finance issues at Kuriftu Resort in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.  

The meeting which ended on March 5,  was facilitated by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), chaired by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki.  

The parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) reaffirmed the necessity for the future sovereign Sudanese states to cooperate and to build and maintain two economically viable states.  

Both sides affirmed the importance of reaching consensus on the handling of Sudan’s oil and petroleum infrastructure including  the future of the two state-owned petroleum companies, Sudapet and Nilepet.  

The parties also agreed that the South would establish a new currency after the end of the CPA Interim Period on  July 8.  

Another outcome was the formation of a joint committee to consider ways of facilitating trade and related finance arrangements. The joint committee will report back by the end of May.  

In addition, both sides agreed that each state would protect the rights and operations of commercial banks originating from the other state.  

In the interests of the economic stability, both parties agreed to work jointly to secure debt relief from Sudan’s international creditors. Also discussed was a formula for the apportionment of the debt.  

Closing the session, Mr Mbeki urged the parties to build on the dedication and sense of urgency they had demonstrated in Bishoftu, and to urgently resolve all of the outstanding issues before the end of the CPA Interim Period.  

The parties will continue their deliberations in Sudan, and will return to Ethiopia on April 5, for another round of intensive negotiations.

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