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Sudan Stalemate Drags On

Policemen stand guard as protesters representing regions along the border with Sudan gather outside of the Parliament building in Juba, South Sudan, against a recently signed agreement between Sudan and South Sudan, October 15, 2012.

Initial hopes that the preliminary agreements could resolve differences between the two countries have been unfulfilled.

In fits and starts, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have been working to resolve long-standing disputes between their two countries. A wide range of issues related to security, borders, oil, finance, nationality, trade, and humanitarian access threatened resumption of full-scale armed conflict this spring. A summit meeting in September between the two presidents was an extraordinary opportunity to reach final and comprehensive agreements that broke new ground in creating two viable states at peace with each other.

Sudan Stalemate Drags On
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Initial hopes that the preliminary agreements could resolve differences between the two countries have been unfulfilled, however. The United States is increasingly concerned about the delays in implementing the historic agreements of September 27th.

We are also concerned that no progress was made recently at the Joint Political and Security Mechanism meeting. As a result, neither nation has implemented a planned demilitarized buffer zone aimed at preventing renewed fighting. Creation of a safe demilitarized border zone between the two counties is vital to ensure that both nations honor their commitments to cease support for combative proxy forces and, more importantly, to prevent conflict. Sudan and South Sudan should convene a JPSM session immediately and recommit to the September 27 agreements.

Allowing this unresolved issue to impede implementation of the other agreements threatens the stability of both counties.

We are also disappointed in delays in resuming oil production. This denies both economies of much needed revenue for government services and economic development. The people of both nations deserve swift and complete implementation of these promises, as called for in an October 24 communiqué by the African Union Peace and Security Council. We urge both parties to resume production while they resolve other bilateral issues.