After five days of talks, negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan on the implementation of a cooperation agreement broke down on Saturday.

The cooperation agreement, forged in September, is meant to regulate oil production, the mutual administration of the disputed area of Abyei, as well as the creation of a safe, demilitarized border zone between the feuding countries.

Negotiation teams from the two countries, steered by an African Union High Implementation Panel led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, had met in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa since Monday.

But on Saturday, the South Sudanese government said its northern counterpart had taken ‘unjustified positions’ by insisting on ‘new conditions and terms that are not part of the signed agreement.’

“This undermines the credibility of the negotiation process, the integrity and durability of the agreements,” South Sudan said in a statement.

The meeting had been convened after Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of South Sudan, had agreed on January 5 on a “speedy, unconditional and coordinated implementation” of all agreements between the two countries.

Neither Sudanese officials nor representatives of the AU High Implementation Panel were unavailable for comment.

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