August 22, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Monday has discussed with South Sudan’s First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai the outstanding issues between the two countries besides the ongoing crisis in the newborn nation.
Gai arrived in Khartoum on Sunday holding a special message from President Salva Kiir Mayardit to al-Bashir.
In a press conference following his meeting with al-Bashir, Gai said the latter has instructed the concerned bodies to provide urgent assistance to South Sudan including food rations.
He added they wouldn’t wait for the border crossings to be opened, saying the trucks would carry the assistance from Khartoum to the Unity state, Awel, Bahr el-Ghazal and Al-Renk in South Sudan.
Gai didn’t rule out that the outstanding security issues between Juba and Khartoum would be settled within three weeks, directing his defence minister to immediately implement instructions of the top leadership in both countries to resolve the security issues.
In September 2012, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among others.
In March 2013, the two countries signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements. However, the execution of the agreements didn’t go according to the plan.
Last June, the Joint Political and Security Committee (JPSC) between the two countries signed a series of security agreements, including immediate re-deployment of joint military forces along the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ), and approved a plan to stop supporting and harbouring rebels as well as opening the crossings points.
Gai pointed that his visit to Khartoum comes within the framework of the dialogue among the members of the same family in order to achieve comprehensive peace between the two nations, saying he handed over al-Bashir a message from Kiir inviting him to visit Juba.
Gai added that his government wouldn’t allow Sudanese rebels to work within South Sudan’s territory to threaten Sudan’s security, stressing his country wouldn’t serve as a launching pad for that any Sudanese who wants to continue the war against Khartoum.
“We hope that Sudan wouldn’t serve as a launching pad for Machar,” he added.
The South Sudanese official called on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to obey the call to peace, stressing his country would support peace efforts in the greater Sudan.
“Stability of the greater Sudan would lead to stability in the region and stability of the two countries would lead to stability in the region and the area,” he said.
He underscored that the situation in Juba and the Upper Nile, Bahr el-Ghazal and Western Equatoria is stable following the escape of the Machar to Kongo, denying existence of Ugandan troops in South Sudan except those pursuing the Lord Resistance Armay (LRA).
Gai’s first visit to Sudan comes just weeks after he replaced former rebel leader Riek Machar as vice president after clashes in Juba left hundreds dead in July.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9th 2011 following a referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should remain a part of the country or become independent. 99% of the southern voters chose independence.
Relations between the two nations soured after South Sudan’s independence following a series of disputes over a number of issues.