7 October 2012

Sudan: Bashir Orders Reopening of Border With South Sudan

Khartoum — Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir has ordered Sunday to reopen the border with South Sudan, while it is decided to transfer security meetings between the two countries to Khartoum.

The decision to open the border was announced by Sudanese ambassador to South Sudan, Mutrif Sidiq, following a meeting at the presidential palace on Sunday with President Al-Bashir before to leave for Juba during the upcoming days. The meeting was as attended by foreign minister Ali Karti and other government officials.

Following the meeting, Mutrif told reporters that Al-Bashir asked him to inform President Salva Kiir that he is committed to implement the deals signed on 27 September and to keep working with him to settle the remaining unresolved issues.

He further said the president instructed him to work with the other concerned authorities to open all the land and river borders with South Sudan. The two countries have already agreed to resume areal flights between Juba and Khartoum.

The ambassador who was a member in the Sudanese negotiating team, added that the Sudanese president stressed that the priority should be given to the normalization of bilateral relations.

Sudan gradually closed the border with South Sudan since the start of a rebellion in South Kordofan and Blue Nile which are adjacent to the new independent state.

Following the attack on Heglig in April 2012, Bashir declared state of emergency in all the states on the border with South Sudan including that there is no clashes with rebel groups.

First Vice President Ali Osman Taha at the time demanded the parliament to amend the emergency law in order to allow the authorities to kill anyone who tries to smuggle food to South Sudan.

The trade embargo affected directly the five states bordering Sudan where different reports speak about severe food shortage there.

The two countries signed a series of security and cooperation agreements after four months of talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa brokered by an African Union mediation panel. But the two countries have to settle the border disputed zones and to agree on how to hold a referendum on Abyei region.

Khartoum announced that the security meetings which were supposed to start last Saturday in Juba are transferred to the Sudanese capital where the two delegation will meet to discuss issues related to the presence of rebel groups in both countries.

South Sudan Defense Minister John Kong Nyuon will arrive Wednesday to Khartoum to discuss the implementation of security arrangements with his Sudanese counterpart Abdel-Rahim Hussein.

A member of the Sudanese negotiating security team, general Eimad Addawi stated on Saturday in a TV show that Adel-Rahim invited John Kong to discuss these issues in Khartoum. While the South Sudanese ambassador Mayen Dut announced Kong's acceptance to transfer the meetings to Khartoum.

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