Sudan: Bashir, Kiir to Meet in Negotiations Summit
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is expected to meet with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on Sunday in a summit at the Ethiopian capital to wrap up negotiations to end hostilities that have threatened an outright conflict between the two neighbour states.
The two-day summit hosted by Ethiopia’s acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn comes same day when an extended deadline by the UN Security Council for the two foe states to resolve outstanding issues and end hostilities expires on September 22.
The summit follows recent round of African Union mediated negotiations chaired by former south African president, Thabo Mbeki that have seen much progress in resolving the issues, after series of previous meetings ending with barely any agreement.
Badr Al-Deen Abdualla, spokesman of the Sudanese negotiating delegation told Sudan official news agency (SUNA) that the summit is set to tackle three levels of issues including those agreed upon but not signed.
Abdulla said all other issues of economic cooperation have been finalised but only matters of security and contested border region of Abyei, have been held up awaiting the summit talks.
A senior member of Sudanese delegation Abdelrahman Sir al-Khatim told Reuters news agency on Thursday that “i believe Bashir and Salva Kiir will be here to achieve something for the people of their countries ... We hope they will succeed and sign an agreement."
The UN Security Council has expressed hope that the two sides will reach an agreement within the remaining period of deadline, following presentation of a report to the council, by UN Special representative for Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, who reported positive developments in the negotiations.
Norway which is a mediator in the talks because it advises both Sudans on oil issues has appreciated the strong efforts by both parties in the negotiations towards the outstanding issues.
“We are confident that they will reach an agreement before the end of the deadline," said Endre Stiansen, a norwegian special envoy in the talks.
A possible demarcation of the 1800km border remains in dispute since the south seceded in July last year. Both sides are yet to decide on how to share oil resources and also possible citizenship of the disputed border region of Abyei.
Fighting along the disputed border had threatened an all-out war between the two states in April, prompting a resolution by the UN Security Council demanding both sides to end hostilities or face non-military sanctions.
The summit also seeks to fully implement a provisional oil deal struck last month that could see resume of oil production, though Sudan wants a border security agreement first. South Sudan shut down its oil fields following row over oil transit fees accusing the north of stealing its oil and over excessive transit charges.
Since the shutdown, both sides have witnessed soaring inflation and shortages of foreign currency due to lack of the crude, which they both heavily depend on. Oil production accounts for 98% of Juba’s revenue and depends on the north for its pipeline for export, making up to half of Khartoum’s revenue.
Somalia:14 Die in Mogadishu Suicide Bombing
Mogadishu---14 people have died and several others severely wounded in a suicide bomb attack in a restaurant in Somali capital of Mogadishu.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves at the Village restaurant in the city centre, about 1 km from the presidential palace Thursday evening. Those who died in the attack include former editor of Somali National TV, Liban Ali Nur, two other journalists and two policemen.
The restaurant run by a Somali businessman who recently returned from the UK is popular with journalists, government workers and politicians, which appears to be why it was targeted. Witnesses at the scene say one bomber blew himself up inside, while the second set off his device when crowds gathered near the restaurant.
"There was a loud explosion, there were at least eight killed, and there were two more that were rushed to hospital who looked like they would not survive," said Ali Mohammed Yassin, who was in the restaurant at the time.
The death toll is feared could rise further, after the critically wounded were taken to hospital. No group has so far claimed the attack which is the second to rock the capital 10 days after newly elected president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office.
The Islamist al-Shabab group which is opposed to Sheikh Mohamud’s election has vowed militancy against the new government, saying it was formed by enemies of Somalia. The al-Qaeda linked group claimed responsibility of last week’s bomb and gun attack on a hotel in Mogadishu where President Mohamud has been staying, during a meeting with a foreign delegation.
At least eight people including African Union (AU) security personnel and two Somali government troops died when two suicide bombers let off their devices last Wednesday.
Having lost control of Mogadishu to the AU-backed government troops, the al-Shabab which still controls large swathes of territories in central and southern Somalia has since resorted to suicide bomb and grenade attacks along roadsides and other popular meeting places in the capital.
Kenyan defence forces who since last October are on an operation in Somalia to root out al-Shabab reported earlier this week to have captured a significant town near Kismayo, the last bastion held by the militants, it blamed for several kidnappings within its territory
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has reported an increasing number of civilians fleeing Kismayo in fear of the clashes as the Kenyan troops prepare the final onslaught to capture the city.