1 November 2017

Sudan: South Sudan's President in Khartoum for Two-Day Visit

Photo: Isaac Billy/UN Photo
Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, and Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan

Khartoum — South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit arrived in Khartoum this morning for a two-day official visit to meet Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir and First Vice-President, Bakri Hasan Saleh. The two presidents will hold official talks at the Republican Palace.

Mohamed Naji, editor at Sudan Tribune independent newspaper, told Radio Dabanga that the visit will deal mainly with the outstanding security issues between the two countries, the national dialogue and ending the war in South Sudan.

He explained that the visit will not address the issue of the disputed border area of Abyei. That will be postponed until the appropriate conditions are established.

He said that Al Bashir will seek during the visit to end the outstanding issues between the two countries in the security arrangements' file which was signed within the framework of the joint cooperation agreement in September 2012.

Naji pointed out that Mayardit is aiming through the visit to obtain support from the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir to the IGAD National Dialogue Conference by persuading the IGAD countries to adopt the National Dialogue Conference instead of activating the peace agreement between the Government of South Sudan and its opponents and opening negotiations with the opposition Popular Movement of Riek Machar.

Security arrangements

Naji said that the file of security arrangements including the agreement on the demilitarised zone on the border between the two countries is determined to be 20 kilometres

He told Radio Dabanga that since last September the two governments have actually begun to implement the aerial surveillance of the border without a declaration.

He pointed out that the forces of UNISFA are providing fuel to the aircrafts to accomplish the task.

He stressed that the meetings held between the defence ministers of the two countries in Khartoum which witnessed an agreement on Monday is the first of its kind in the field of arrangements for the termination of security files.

He said that the visit would also address the resumption of trade, opening of border crossings and demarcation of the border between the two countries, this as well as agreements for diplomatic and media cooperation.

Naji said that the joint border control mechanism approved by the security arrangements agreement signed between the two defence ministers on Monday will prevent infiltration on the border between the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan with South Sudan State.

He pointed out that the agreement includes the opening of four crossings to pass humanitarian aid and passage of citizens.

Enough Project

Dr Suleiman Baldo, a senior researcher at Enough Project in the United States and the United Nations human rights adviser in Mali, played down the impact of the security agreements reached by the framework of the joint ministerial committees between Sudan and South Sudan on the Darfur movements and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North.

He pointed out that the Darfuri movements have not had effective presence in South Sudan since El Nakhara battle.

He explained that the military presence of the SPLM North is confined to the areas of its control in South Kordofan and Blue Nile rather than in South Sudan.

He predicted that the agreement to impose a buffer zone on the border between the two countries would be monitored by joint forces with logistic support which would affect relief and trade exchange between the movement's areas in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and South Sudan.

He accused the Sudanese Government of practicing collective punishment of civilians in the areas of the movement by imposing a trade blockade and preventing the arrival of relief, while allowing the delivery of relief to the northern parts of South Sudan.

'Dire consequences'

He warned of the dire consequences of the current siege on the citizens in the SPLM-N areas of the possibility of refusing to belong to the state on which collective punishment is practiced.

He called on the government to differentiate between the fight against the movement and the citizens whose fate happened to find them residing in the areas controlled by the movement.

Regarding the impact of the agreement between the two countries on the economic side, Baldo said that the poor relations between Sudan and South Sudan State have adversely affected both countries economically.

He pointed out that the Sudanese government has imposed a comprehensive trade boycott on South Sudan and prevented trade exchange between the two countries because of accusation of the state of South Sudan of harbouring the Darfuri movements and the SPLM-N.

He said the trade boycott have had a negative impact on the economy of the two countries.

He pointed out that Sudan has lost $5 billion in the period from 2011 to 2015, because of the trade boycott, according to one of the former Ministers of Finance.

He explained that the interest of the two countries lies in allowing the flow of trade and the movement of citizens

Sudan

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