ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Four days into a presidential summit on a list of unresolved issues Juba and Khartoum appear close to a deal on security arrangements, in addition to a provisional financial deal the two sides agreed to in the last round. The two countries remain divided over the issue of Abyei, a contested border territory that was guaranteed a final status referendum under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
An announcement from the Ethiopian government that the negotiation’s conclusions would be announced Wednesday afternoon caused a flurry of anticipation all morning in the lobby of Addis Ababa’s Sheraton hotel. Expectations for an announcement on a potential deal were further heightened when hotel staff began setting up chairs and a stage for a press conference.
But meetings continued into the evening.
The two presidents resumed meeting in the afternoon over the issue of Abyei, concluding around 6 p.m. Sudan and South Sudan’s lead negotiators, Idris Abdel-Qader and Pagan Amum respectively, were engaged in a parallel meeting on security arrangements and border disputes and claims for most of the day.
At the moment, negotiations appear set to conclude Thursday when the United Nations General Assembly will turn its attention to Sudan and South Sudan.
Photo: Families flee violence in Abyei in 2011 and camp out under trees (Enough / Tim Freccia)