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  Home > Sino-African Relations
Beijing's mediation praised in Sudan, S. Sudan issues
2012/05/30
source: chinadaily.com.cn

Calling China "a significant coordinator", South Sudan spoke highly of China's mediation efforts to ease Sudan-South Sudan tension on Monday, one day before Sudan and South Sudan resume talks.

"China, an old friend of Sudan and a new strategic friend of South Sudan, is playing a significant role mediating between the two countries. ... I believe, South Sudan President Salva Kiir had urged Beijing to use its friendship with Sudan to resume the talks," Mondaysemaya Kumba, acting charge of affairs at the South Sudan embassy in Beijing, told China Daily.

Kumba said that South Sudan is willing to discuss all problems with Sudan "once and for all" during the talks in Ethiopia on Tuesday. 

The talks were suspended after border fighting last month.

The resumed talks would cover issues that brought the two nations to the brink of war in April: establishing the border and how much the landlocked South Sudan should pay to transport its oil through Sudan, and the division of national debt. 

South Sudan voted last year to break away from Sudan, but the two countries never reached an agreement on those two prominent issues, among others. 

China welcomes the attitude shown by the two countries and the resumption of talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Friday.

"We hope the two can earnestly follow the African Union roadmap and the UN Security Council resolutions to resolve the outstanding issues through negotiations."

South Sudan has said it is ready to comply with all articles in the United Nations resolutions, while Sudan committed itself to end hostilities but expressed reservations about some UN demands, which threaten sanctions for non-compliance.

Kiir stressed ahead of the talks that "amicable dialogue on the outstanding issues with Khartoum is the only option for peace," according the South Sudan government's website.

Juba holds high expectations on the meeting, and is ready to resume oil production immediately after making sure that Sudan would recognize the sovereignty issues, Kumba said.

The country, which relies on oil for around 98 percent of its income, shut down its oil production in January after Khartoum started holding part of the south's oil as compensation for what it calls Juba's unpaid debts.

International pressure and peoples' longing for stability and revitalizing economy have pushed the two countries to return to the long-running talks, said Li Xinfeng, an expert on African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

"Both China and the West want the two to achieve peaceful development, but the chronic Sudan-South Sudan disputes can hardly be resolved overnight," he added. 

AFP contributed to this story. 

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