H.E. Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos
Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
The Ministerial Sudan-South Sudan Consultative Forum
27 September 2012
At the outset, let me say that today is a very auspicious day and we hail Presidents Bashir and Salva Kirr for signing a number of agreements, which would certainly contribute to the realization of the principle of two viable states living side by side in peace. Let me also express my appreciation to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for convening this meeting, which is not only timely but important to chart the contribution of the international community to the full implementation of these agreements.
It is only proper to mention right from the outset, the name of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, when discussing the subject at hand, who did so much for peace and stability in our continent within the framework of IGAD and the African Union. No other conflict situation demanded the full attention and the wholehearted devotion of the late Prime Minister than the situation between Sudan and South Sudan. That explains why he was able to earn the trust and confidence of both parties as a neutral and honest interlocutor on whom they can rely for advice to narrowing differences. We appreciate the two parties for dedicating the agreements they signed today in honour of the late Prime Minister.
I wish to seize this opportunity to reaffirm that the new leadership of the Ethiopian government is equally determined to maintain the legacy of the late Prime Minister and will continue to play a constructive role, based on strict adherence to the principle of neutrality, in order to assist both Sudan and South Sudan in dealing with the few outstanding issues. We have one signpost in this exercise- assist in the laying of the foundation for the success of two viable States whose close cooperation would be an asset, not only for them individually, but for the region as a whole.
In this connection, I wish to inform you that our new Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, has held a number of meetings with the leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan to encourage them to reach a final and comprehensive agreement.
Today the two sides have made significant progress in narrowing their differences on most of the outstanding issues and they have signed some eight important nine agreements .
This is indeed a step in the right direction and we commend both the leadership of Sudan and South Sudan for demonstrating their commitment to peace. However, the two parties have not yet been able to finalize the discussion on contested areas along their common border including the issue of Abeyei.
This meeting affords us the opportunity to assess the momentous progress that has been made in the implementation of the African Union Roadmap and UNSC resolution 2046 (2012). In this regard, we welcome the positive and constructive spirit with which the recent negotiations between the two parties have been conducted in Addis Ababa. We also hope that the constructive spirit that prevailed at the just concluded agreement would encourage the parties to maintain the momentum and finalize the two outstanding issues.
We believe the international community should encourage and indeed support the two parties to stay on course in dealing with the remaining issue including Abeyei and other contested areas along their common border. We believe that the international community should learn from past experience and assist the two parties, right from the beginning to:-
ratify the Cooperation Agreement;
establish mechanisms for the effective monitoring and implementation of the agreement; and
finalize the outstanding CPA issues
Finally we hope that this consultation forum will welcome the progress made thus far and encourage the two parties to continue exerting every effort to conclude the negotiations on the remaining issues.
I thank you