The status of an oil rich region and of the north-south border were said to be the causes of the breakdown. The crisis began four weeks ago when the main party in the south withdrew ministers from the governing coalition. It accused Khartoum of failing to implement a peace deal signed in 2005 that ended a two-decade civil conflict.
On 3 November, US special envoy Andrew Natsios told the BBC that north and south Sudan had agreed to implement all provisions of the 2005 peace deal.The sides had resolved most of the significant outstanding issues after intense negotiations, Mr Natsios said. But Yasir Arman, an official from the main southern party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, said on Sunday the committee trying to end the impasse had faced serious difficulties.
The BBC’s Amber Henshaw in Sudan says Mr Arman believes the next step will be a meeting between the southern leader, Salva Kiir, and President Omar al-Bashir. So far, however, such meetings have failed to find any middle ground on the most controversial problems, she says. Those issues are the border between north and south, and the status of the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei. Mr Arman said: “We came across very serious difficulties which meant we could not proceed with the committee… the most serious difficulty was Abyei. “The committee members decided they could no longer work together until further consultations within the presidency.”
Apart from provisions on democracy the 2005 peace deal also set out sharing of power and wealth. The civil war claimed 1.5m lives and was Africa’s longest. Correspondents say Egypt will view the continuing crisis with concern. Cairo has invested heavily in the south but opposes independence – which would be decided in a referendum in just over three years time if the provisions of the 2005 deal are honoured. Egypt is worried that the flow of water in the Nile – its lifeblood – could be further reduced.