- Special Pages
ADDIS ABABA: Frantic efforts to broker a deal on festering disputes between Sudan and South Sudan made little headway yesterday, the third day of a presidential summit in the Ethiopian capital.
The mood was initially optimistic when the leaders began talks on Sunday — in what was originally billed as a one-day meeting — but had appeared to sour over sticking points of contested border regions and security issues.
“There has been back and forth all day, trying to find a position acceptable to both sides... nothing is yet ruled out,” a Western diplomat said.
President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan and his Southern counterpart Salva Kiir had been due to hold another round of direct talks Tuesday, but officials could not confirm if any meeting had taken place.
Amid international pressure to reach a deal — after missing a UN Security Council deadline to settle by Saturday — teams from each side spent the day locked in efforts to narrow positions, as mediators shuttled between them.
A key stumbling block is the Mile-14 area, a contested sliver of land on the border.
Sudan’s Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein has said the strip “is Sudan’s territory and would not be compromised”, according to the Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the security services.
Sudanese delegation official El-Obeid Morawah said Monday that “progress had been made” but did not give clear details, and similar comments were made by South Sudan’s Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin in Juba yesterday.