Addis Ababa: The African Union Commission (AUC) and Ethiopia have launched a team to Sudan and South Sudan to probe allegations that one is fomenting unrest and causing "mayhem and destruction" in the other.
Oil-rich South Sudan became the world's youngest country on July 9, 2011, splitting off from Sudan, to become Africa's 54th nation.
"The mistrust caused by such allegations has jeopardized the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreements .as well as the normalization of relations between the two states", said the AUC's Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, at the launch of the team, which was presided over by Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom.
Ethiopia is the chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), of the Ad Hoc Investigative Mechanism (AIM) into the allegations by the two countries.
The AIM was established in response to a proposal made by the chair of AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, to address persistent allegations made by the two Sudans "that the other state was supporting and harbouring armed rebel movements which aimed either to overthrow the government or to cause mayhem and destruction, with untold humanitarian consequences for the civilian population," an AUC statement said.
AIM is chaired by Brigadier Luis Inaclo Muxito, defence and security advisor to the AUC chair. Its members are Major General (retired) Julius Olakunle Sunday Oshanupin and Brigadier Jean Baptiste Tine. It is expected to complete its work in six weeks.
The AUC also launched another mechanism for the two countries proposed by Mbeki to address security concerns: Determination of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ).
"These two mechanisms underscore the seriousness with which the AU and IGAD regard the relations between the two countries" Adhanom said.
"The mechanisms will facilitate the full implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreements, leading to the normalization of the relations between Sudan and South Sudan," an official said.
"The AU and IGAD urge South Sudan to respect all aspects of the security agreement and to ensure that all its forces are redeployed out of the SDBZ. On the other hand, it strongly urges that Sudan refrain from any action to shut down the oil pipeline used to transport South Sudanese oil to Port Sudan, bearing in mind that any decision to do so threatens to cause irreparable damage to the integrity of the pipeline and adversely affect the economies of both states," the official said.