By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
April 14, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - After days of tense negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday signed an agreement on issues of nationality and demarcation of their common boundary.
The framework agreements allow nationals of each state the rights to enjoy “freedom of residence, freedom of movement, freedom to undertake economic activity and freedom to acquire and dispose property".
South Sudan chief negotiator, Pagan Amum, and his Sudanese counterpart Idriss Abdel-Gadir, signed the agreement, in the presence of Thabo Mbeki, Pierre Buyoya, former president of Burundi, and Ramtane Lamamra, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security.
The new progress is said to be an important step forward to further resolving the remaining post-split issues such as on oil revenues and other outstanding matters.
The two sides will establish a joint committee of ministers of interior to further consult on details of related issues so as to commence demarcation of the continent’s longest border line.
“This is an assurance to people in Sudan and South Sudan", Mbeki said at the agreement signing ceremony. He added “this out look is fundamental to the conduct of negotiation on all matters”.
The Addis Ababa initial agreements will be signed soon in Juba between Presidents Salva Kiir of South Sudan and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir, who is expected to pay a visit to Juba in the next two weeks, his first trip to South Sudan since the country seceded from Sudan in July 2011.
The two sides renewed their commitment to continue negotiations on the remaining outstanding issues to ensure the economic, political and social viability between the countries.
“The two states have agreed to continue negotiations as partners rather than aggressors,” said Thabo Mbeki, who chairs the African Union meditation mechanism .
South Sudan’s foreign minister, Pagan Amum said the initial agreement paves a away to ensure that the two states are viable, cooperating, and economically respecting their territorial integrity and creating a situation of security for both states.
The negotiations were brokered by African Union’s High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.