JUBA – South Sudan said Thursday it has drawn up a strategic plan with neighbouring Sudan to facilitate border crossings as the two countries continue to dialogue over how to end disputes over claimed and contested border areas.
Senior presidential aide Tut Gatluak Manime told the Sudan Tribune on Thursday that “good progress” was being made between the two neighbours, pointing to the presence in Juba of a technical high-level Sudanese delegation led by the Defence Minister, Yassin Ibrahim Yassin.
“There is good progress in the security arrangement meetings. We have drawn up a strategic plan to facilitate border crossings between the two countries so that the movement of people and goods continue to benefit the two sides,” said Manime.
Last month, a two-day visit by the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok resulted in a series of agreements between the leadership of the two countries. Border crossings, river transportation, and railway were agreed upon by the parties to enhance the 2012 cooperation agreement.
Sudanese defence told reporters on Wednesday that he was in Juba to deliver a letter from the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan to the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.
The letter conveys the commitment of the government of Sudan to continue supporting the implementation process of the revitalized peace agreement. Al-Burhan also commended President Kiir’s continued support for the ongoing efforts to bring peace in Sudan, saying stability of Sudan and South Sudan is interlinked.
All the security-related matters, according to the presidential adviser on security affairs, will be discussed.
“No issue will be left untouched. His excellency the President of the Republic has directed and instructed to discuss all files relating to security matters between the two countries. This is a clear indication that his excellency is committed to ensuring the issues of the border are resolved amicably,” he said.
He added that the presence of the Sudanese defence minister should be perceived as an indication of the Sudanese commitment and seriousness to settle all the post-independence pending issues between the two countries.
“He has come with all those who are involved in the security matters in Sudan. The directors of security agencies, the police, the military intelligence, customs, and all the officials with links to the security and border issues in Sudan have come. They are here. We are holding discussions with them,” he further stressed.
After brokering the Juba Peace Agreement involving armed groups the Blue Nile State and Darfur, Juba is now exerting efforts to bring the SPLM-N of Abdel Aziz al-Hilu to sign a peace agreement ending the armed conflict in the Nuba Mountains area, which is located near the South Sudanese border.
Also, Kiir seeks to convince a Darfur holdout rebel leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur who is residing in Juba to engage in negotiations with the transitional authorities in Sudan.