AU urges Sudan's rival north-south groups to fulfil peace deal
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — The African Union called on Sudan's rival groups in the north and south of the country to speed up their application of the 2005 peace deal, the bloc's special envoy told AFP Monday.
"The (AU's) Peace and Security Council welcomes the progress made since 2007, but also noted with concern the fact that a number of very crucial parts of the peace deal have not been implemented," said Oluyemi Adeniji.
He added that plans for elections in 2009 had not gained momentum, while the preparations for the 2011 referendum on independence for south Sudan "had not started."
Adeniji was speaking after an AU meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to discuss the progress made on a 2005 peace deal known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
He said the bloc had agreed to meet every six months to evaluate the CPA.
The 2005 agreement ended a devastating 21-year civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south, uniting them in a national government in Khartoum and handing semi-autonomy to the south.
Meanwhile an advisor to President Omar al-Beshir said Monday the CPA is working well.
"We are happy with the progress because there is a government of Southern Sudan which is controlling the region and at the same time participating in the government of national unity," said Yahia Bebiker.
Fighting between southern and northern Sudanese forces last May in the contested border area of Abyei, which has oil wealth estimated at half a billion dollars, was seen as the biggest threat yet to the 2005 peace deal. A large number of civilians fled the area.
When a six-year transition period is due to end in 2011, the CPA calls for a referendum in the south on whether to remain part of a united Sudan or choose full independence.
National elections are scheduled in 2009 although preparations have been falling behind.