Sudanese President’s visit to Juba new hope for normal ties

14th Apr 2013

KHARTOUM, (Xinhua): Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir’s visit to Juba on Friday
means a glimmer of new hope for the establishment of normal relations between his country
and South Sudan, local observers said Saturday.

The two sides have expressed their willingness to adopt dialogue as a means to settle their
differences and abandon military confrontation, which has previously failed, particularly the
clashes at Abyei and Higlieg oil field.

Al-Bashir’s declaration of opening the border with South Sudan before the movement of
citizens and commodities came as a practical move that reflects Sudan’s desire in positive
communication with its southern neighbor which became independent in July 2011.

Addressing the joint talks between Sudan and South Sudan in Juba, al-Bashir said “the
positive atmospheres made by the signing of the matrix deal paved the way for this visit
which indicates the beginning of a constructive cooperation on the path of normalizing the
ties between the two countries.”

“The resumption of the oil pumping is regarded as a model for joint cooperation and an
actual beginning for the implementation of the deal. We have agreed on all the necessary
arrangements so that blood would be pumped into the veins of the two countries’ economies
for the welfare of our two peoples,” he added.

Al-Bashir further directed the Sudanese institutions and civil society organizations to open
toward South Sudan so that the cooperation agreement could be a reality.

“This successful visit represents a shift in the relations between the two countries and I direct
the opening of all the border passages which are ready for communication,” he said.

Sudan and South Sudan, meanwhile, reiterated their commitment to implementing the signed
security arrangements deal and ceasing all forms of support for the armed groups in the two

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit, in the meantime, said he is ready to personally
mediate between the Sudanese government and the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile

Kiir further denied, at a joint press conference with al-Bashir following their talks in
Juba, that his country has any direct relation with the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement)/ northern sector.

He said he had asked the SPLM’s Secretary General Pagan Amum and the movement’s chief
of staff to sever any relation between the movement and those who were members of the
movement from Sudan after the separation of the south, noting that that was exactly what
had happened and what Amum had affirmed in his address to the African Union High-Level
Implementation Panel on Sudan, led by former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.

Al-Bashir and Kiir reiterated in a joint communique after their talks their commitment to
realizing the cooperation deal signed by the two countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in
September last year with the same prevailing constructive spirit between them.

They praised in particular the smooth progress in the implementation of the agreements of
security, oil and central bank cooperation between the two countries, and also stressed the
importance of finding a mechanism to speed up reaching solutions for the outstanding issues.

They also agreed to establish a higher joint ministerial committee, which is under the
chairmanship of the two countries’ vice-presidents and gathers a limited number of ministers
to accelerate the decision-making to develop bilateral ties.

Abdul-Rahim Al-Sunni, a Sudanese political analyst, saw that the outcome of al-Bashir’s
Juba visit reflected the sincere willingness of the two countries to overcome their differences
and search for means to resume cooperation despite some outstanding issues.

“It is obvious that the two countries are tending to separate the outstanding files as they
are presently seeking to implement what they have agreed upon and delay the outstanding
issues,” Al- Sunni told Xinhua.

“This is a positive and realistic approach because issues such as the oil, commercial
cooperation and adjustment of the citizens in the two countries need direct implementation
without linking them to complicated issues such as Abyei and border demarcation,” he added.

He reiterated that the economic interests will be a pushing force toward settling the remaining
issues or delaying them at the moment, saying “if the two sides have managed to resume their
economic and commercial cooperation and made their way out of the current economic crisis,
that will help settling the remaining files.”

Many issues are still standing between Sudan and South Sudan, including the affiliation of
Abyei, the border demarcation and four disputed border areas that need further dialogue.

Editor: Mu Xuequan


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