By Anna Osborne, Senior Africa Analyst
The most recent in a series of bilateral summits, held under the auspices of the Mbeki-led African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), ended on 29 January. Yet again the Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan, Omar al-Bashir and Salva Kiir failed to reach an arrangement on mechanisms to implement the Cooperation Agreements signed in Addis Ababa in September 2012, frustrating international attempts to convince them of the benefits of doing so.
The two most controversial issues within the agreement, and the main sticking points, are reportedly that of the disputed areas of ‘Mile 14’ (a stretch of land bordering South Darfur in the North and Northern Bahr el Ghazal in the South claimed by both countries) and Abyei. Although both countries underline the economic significance of these two regions, the claims of oil deposits in the Mile 14 area are unsubstantiated and most of the oil fields fall outside of Abyei’s borders. Instead, these two areas are vital to the two leaders with waning domestic support because of their national symbolic importance. (more…)