Khartoum, Juba Discuss Establishing Demilitarized Zone

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The joint Sudan and South Sudan Security Committee met in Khartoum on Aug. 21 to discuss security arrangements, including the possibility of a demilitarized zone along the border.

Last week, on Aug. 21, the Joint Sudan and South Sudan Security Committee in Khartoum discussed ways to implement security arrangements, establish a demilitarized zone on their border, and open crossings before deploying observers from both countries headed by an international force. This step aims to promote the normalization of their strained relations and ensure the flow of the south’s oil through Sudanese territory to export ports.

The committee held its third meeting in Khartoum in preparation for submitting its report to the African mediator. The meeting was chaired by the heads of intelligence services in both countries, 

The committee rapporteur, Al-Moez Farouq, expressed his hope that the meeting would have a positive outcome in terms of solving problems between the two countries. He expected significant results in the implementation of the joint cooperation agreements and the terms of agreement on security arrangements between the two countries.

The state of South Sudan said, “The dialogue with Sudan is taking place on three levels: first through direct contacts between the presidents of the two countries to develop bilateral relations, and [through] meetings between the foreign ministers of the countries, in addition to the steps on the part of the African mediator.”

Hamid Sadiq, coordinator in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), expected that the anticipated visit of the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, to Khartoum is likely to promote bilateral relations, especially after the recent changes in the government of the south.

He told reporters that this visit is aimed at discussing security arrangements, economic and trade relations, and problems on the border between the two countries.

He said that the Western friends of the south had handed Salva Kiir a memorandum harshly criticizing the deteriorating economic and political situation, the security chaos and lawlessness in the south.

Relations between Khartoum and Juba started to improve when Salva Kiir dissolved his government last month and formed a new one. Khartoum believes that the new government does not include its traditional opponents from the ruling South Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) — mainly the party’s secretary general and chief negotiator for the government of the south Pagan Amum, who was suspended by Salva Kiir and referred for investigation.

On another note, on Wednesday, Aug. 21, an armed group released 24 persons from the Maalia tribe in the area of Karanka in eastern Darfur who were kidnapped during the conflict that erupted between the Maalia and Rizeigat tribes.

On the other hand, the opposing Popular Congress Party (PCP) ruled out a possible meeting between its leader, Hassan al-Turabi, and President Omar al-Bashir to end the differences that have gripped their relations for nearly 13 years.

An officer in the PCP accused parties in the NCP of fomenting political confusion by repeating talk about the unification of Islamists to thwart the plans of the opposition calling for the overthrow of the regime.

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