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Summary: 23 March 2010, Brussels – The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton met today with President Thabo Mbeki in his capacity as the Chairman of the African Union's High Level Panel on Sudan. President Boyoya was also present at the meeting. HR Ashton made the following statement after the meeting:
"The EU fully supports President Mbeki in his important efforts to facilitate and mediate in a difficult and challenging situation in Sudan.
The international community has to work closely together now, with strong African leadership, in order to see this difficult process through.
The first priority is credible and peaceful elections in April. Following the elections, all parties have to fully respect the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, addressing rapidly the remaining outstanding issues and abstaining from any unilateral actions. North and South should start coming together on key issues related to the referendum in January 2011 when the South Sudanese decide their future.
Conflict and poverty are not inevitable - working together we can help the Sudanese people to make a difference for peace, justice and reconciliation."