March 2016 - Posts
March 29, 2013 (JUBA) - Sudanese government has again on Tuesday closed its borders with South Sudan, just a week after Khartoum threatened to treat South Sudanese in Sudan as foreigners.
On Tuesday, South Sudan’s Renk county commissioner in West Nile state, (former Upper Nile sate), Stephen Chan Aluong, said his county has officially received a message from the White Nile state governor of Sudan that the national government has issued a directive ending cross border movement with the neighbouring South Sudan.
“It is very clear that the closing directives were issued by Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and given as a directive of action to White Nile governor,” Aluong told on Tuesday.
“Even people who are taking their relatives to hospitals in Sudan have been stopped from crossing the border by border Sudanese authorities,” he said.
Sudan threatened two weeks ago to close the border, stop medical and education incentives South Sudanese enjoys in north and treat them as foreigners over charges that Juba continues to support Sudanese rebels. South Sudan has denied this allegation and insists on dialogue as the way to resolve the differences.
Commissioner Aluong said Sudanese authorities close the border last week when two military planes bombarded border areas inside South Sudan.
“When they [Sudanese] bombarded our villages and military barracks, they also stop people from crossing into Sudan or to South Sudan. This is something that authorities in White Nile state has continued to impose over the last five days,” Aluong added.
Sudanese moves to close its borders with South Sudan just came a day after South Sudan government accused Sudanese government’s forces of carrying out air bombardments in Upper Nile state.
According to South Sudanese army, Sudanese warplanes allegedly dropped 12 bombs on police station in Upper Nile state, claims denied by Sudanese army.
The two countries which emerged out from the 21 years old civil war in 2005 through comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) which cleared a roadmap for the South semi-autonomous region to determine its future through 2011 referendum.
Earlier on January this year, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir ordered the re-opening of his country’s border with South Sudan for the first time since the region seceded in 2011 to become an independent nation.
The two states, which accuse each other of backing armed rebellions against their respective governments, decided in November to revitalize the demilitarised zone which is on the border and had been agreed upon in 2012 signatures by both sides.
On 17 this month, the Sudanese government in its weekly cabinet meeting chaired by President Omer al-Bashir decided to end open door policy for South Sudanese.
Khartoum said no South Sudanese national will be allowed to reside in the country without identity card from his or her government and an entry visa.
March 21, 2016 (JUBA) – Juba on Monday said it was in talks with Khartoum over border tensions linked to security matters in addition to demarcations of their common border as well as oil charges for transiting Sudanese territory to the international markets.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Foreign Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the South Sudanese government was negotiating with the neighbouring Sudanese government to resolve the matters through diplomatic channels instead of resorting to media which has been addressed by the 2012 cooperation agreement.
“There are better ways to resolve matters which have emerged to the concern of the parties in the agreement. The 2012 cooperation agreement which we have signed with the government of Sudan has clear mechanisms in place to be used. Also the agreement does not allow the two countries to host and allow their borders to be used by a negative and hostile force against the other,” said Benjamin.
“We have complied with this but if there is a concern from the Sudanese side, there is a body which deals with such concerns. We have Joint Political Security Mechanism. This is the body which deals with complaints from either side. The Sudanese government should have used this body and I am sure we would have responded to their concerns instead of going to the media,” he added.
Minister Benjamin further also criticized the Sudanese government’s recent decision to deny South Sudanese who fled to their country the right to reside in Sudan with no valid documents, adding that Juba will not reciprocate.
He lamented that the South Sudanese people believed they are one and the same people with the Sudanese but who have only been divided by political ideologies to become two countries.
“The division of Sudan into the south and north should not be used to punish the ordinary citizens, who share a lot in common because the country has been divided. As the government we are not saying the government of Sudan should not do what it sees right for its citizens and their country. The government of Sudan has the right to enact its own laws because that is their country and no one would stop them except Sudanese themselves,” he said.
“But as the government of the republic of South Sudan, I assure you of our commitment to continue to [work] hand in hand with brothers and sisters from Sudan to achieve the objective of the cooperation agreement because our relationships between Sudan and South Sudan should be treated as not short term relationship.”
Benjamin further explained that the two countries should be cooperating as neighbours forever and to develop special relationship because they are one people in the two countries.
“So there is no way you can treat citizens like the other foreign nationals. The Sudanese citizens in South Sudan now are working and living as citizens of this country. We expect the same treatment from Sudan,” he added.
The minister said President Salva Kiir would soon call the Sudanese president, Omer al-Bashir, over the matter and to close the chapter and begin a new page through diplomatic channels.
“Our president, General Salva Kiir would soon call his brother, Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir so that they discuss this and other issues as brothers as they have always done on difficult matters. I am sure they reach an understanding as usual. They have done that before and I am confident they will also do it. The ground work is being arranged through our embassy in Khartoum and here in Juba.”
He did not however provide the date and time when the two leaders would call each other and remains unclear what are the issues they would discuss.
The two countries, once on Sudan before July 2011, have been accusing each other of supporting the other’s rebel movements across their common borders.
March 21, 2016 — Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said Sunday that Egypt and Sudan are working to unify their stance on several regional issues, pointing to the Sudanese support of the Egyptian candidate for the position of Arab League secretary-general, Ahmed Abou El-Ghiet.
Shoukry said, in an interview with state-run MENA, that both countries are interested in continuing consultations on bilateral challenges. He added that the supreme joint committee of both countries, which will hold a meeting in Cairo soon, will launch bilateral projects and agreements.
Deputy foreign minister Osama Al-Magdoub is scheduled to visit Khartoum this week to head preparations for the joint committee meetings. Al-Magdoub will also present Egypt’s proposals regarding projects that could be carried out in coordination between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
Regarding the trilateral cooperation between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, Shoukry said he discussed water cooperation, as well as economic and trade cooperation, with Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir and his foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour.
Shoukry also discussed, with Sudanese irrigation minister Moataz Moussa, the latest developments regarding the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and the preparations for the signing of the contract for both technical offices set to prepare the technical studies about the impact of the GERD on Egypt and Sudan. Shoukry described the meeting as fruitful.
Egypt is also consulting with Sudan on efforts to restore stability in South Sudan. Shoukry highlighted the importance of enforcing a peaceful solution to reach an agreement between the warring sides.
He added that Egypt received Riek Machar, the leader of the South Sudanese rebels, in an effort to converge views between him and the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, pointing out that that turmoil in South Sudan will the affect the North.
Shoukry added that the viewpoints of Egypt and Sudan are aligned with regards to the Libyan crisis, with both countries supporting the new Libyan government of national unity.
“Libya is a major challenge for Egypt and Sudan,” Shoukry said. Egypt is looking forward to the formation of the new unity government, which should work to satisfy the needs of the Libyan people, Shoukry continued.
Representatives of Libya’s neighbouring countries are scheduled to hold a meeting in Tunisia Tuesday.