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UNITED NATIONS - Envoys from Sudan and South Sudan on Thursday told reporters here that progress has been made between the governments of both neighboring countries after Juba and Khartoum have agreed on a general framework over their outstanding issues before the resumption of July 5 negotiations.
"The government of Sudan, after lengthy consultations, has agreed to set several principles," said Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, the Sudanese permanent representative to the UN.
Osman said that the agreement between Sudan and South Sudan will include guaranteed access to food without discrimination, to all those in need, among several others.
The two countries, at the conclusion of their most recent round of talks, agreed on a general framework to resolve the outstanding issues, reports said. However, there has been no agreement so far between the two countries on the outstanding issues including the border and determination of the zero line to demarcate the demilitarized zone.
"The government of Sudan and its sponsors, the Arab League, the African Union and the United Nations, will embark on working out a plan to channel material toward progress," said Osman. "We hope when we resume the second session next week, we will see further progress."
Mirroring Osman's speech, the South Sudanese permanent representative to the UN, Francis Nazario, told reporters that South Sudan welcomes the progress made between his government and Sudan.
"We welcome the progress made," said Nazario.
Nazario noted that a recent investigative report issued on Thursday morning, found that the South Sudan has accepted the African Union's implementation of high demands with the purpose to demilitarize several zones. However, they remain concerned over the implementation of the demobilizing of military presence in areas such as Heglig.
"We are concerned that this will be an incentive to the government of Sudan to take over," said Nazario.
Still, amid concerns, Nazario said that "the Republic of South Sudan will however continue to support Sudan's expansion of demilitarized zone, as that will permit the parties to negotiate the final marking of the border, and atmosphere of greater security."
Heglig, a small town at the south of South Kordofan in Sudan, has been under dispute since South Sudan won independence in July last year.
Sudan and South Sudan have been negotiating in Addis Ababa under the mediation of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on a number of outstanding issues such as security, oil and border demarcation.
The United Nations Security Council recently adopted a resolution demanding both sides to "immediately cease all hostilities, including aerial bombardments," and to " unconditionally withdraw all of their armed forces to their side of the border."