Bashir Asks Museveni to Help Resolve Abyei Town Crisis

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Sudan’s President Omar el Bashir has asked President Museveni to help him resolve the longstanding border dispute between North and South Sudan over the oil-rich Abyei region.

According to a statement issued by State House yesterday, Mr Bashir’s ‘special message’ to President Museveni was delivered by Mr Mostafa Osman Esmail, the adviser to the Sudanese leader. “The President thanked President el Bashir for the message,” a State House statement read in part, adding: “Mr Museveni reiterated Uganda’s commitment to solving African problems through African mechanisms and by peaceful resolution of conflict.”

President Museveni, who met the Sudanese team in Johannesburg during the second Tripartite Summit of the three regional economic groupings under COMESA, EAC and SADC, has since thanked Mr Bashir for the letter.

The call for Mr Museveni’s arbitration comes at a time when Sudan’s president and his southern counterpart are meeting to try and end recent fighting that has forced more than 140,000 people into camps. The African Union is also hosting peace talks between President Omar el-Bashir and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir.

Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, are mediating the talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. A separate AU statement issued on Saturday said the talks would focus on the withdrawal of armed forces from Abyei, which northern forces seized last month. However, with Gen. Bashir unwilling to surrender the oil-rich Abyei and Kiir’s doggedness in the conflict, it remains to be seen whether President Museveni’s clout in the region would deliver peace.

Mr Museveni was in South Africa to attend the second Tripartite Summit of the three regional economic groupings under COMESA, EAC and SADC, at which leaders of 26 member countries launched negotiations to create a single Free Trade Area (FTA).

Mr Museveni also received the Egyptian delegation which briefed him on the progress in Egypt and the President pledged Uganda’s support to the Egyptian government. The summit in South Africa, launched negotiations by the Heads of State and government of the 26 member countries to transform and create one Free Trade Area (FTA) economic bloc serving about 600 million people.

SA President, Jacob Zuma, said: “The FTA will bring substantive meaning to the the people of Africa, ensure sustainable livelihood, especially among the youth and food security in Africa.”

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