By James Gatdet Dak Lampuar
September 27, 2007 (JUBA) — The Government of Southern Sudan has resolved to develop a new working map for its territory. The working map will include the disputed territories, which were incorrectly annexed to northern Sudan in the current perceived 1956 North-South boundary.
- Southern Sudan map (Wikipedia)
The decision was taken in a Council of Ministers meeting held on Wednesday, Juba, under the chairmanship of the Government of Southern Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, who also holds the post of the First Vice Presidency in the Government of National Unity.
The Council further resolved that the new map should also contain the original local names of rivers, villages, towns, etc, to replace some names, which are alien to the local population in Southern Sudan.
The resolution is backed up by an initial resolution passed early this year by the Governors of the ten Southern Sudan states in their ‘Governors Forum’ chaired by the Vice President, Riek Machar Teny. That resolution also called for a review of the map of Southern Sudan, including its internal States and Counties boundaries.
This working map, which may take less than a month to come out and become ready for use, will serve as an interim and comprehensive map for Southern Sudan territory, pending the completion of the work of demarcation of the boundary by the established North-South Boundary Commission.
The work of this Commission, which was established by the Presidency of the Government of National Unity, is set to be completed by the first quarter of 2008.
In a press statement shortly after the Council of Ministers passed the resolution, Samson Kwaje, the Government Spokesperson and Minister of Information and Broadcasting, said the Council also resolved to strengthen the membership of the Government of Southern Sudan’s component of the committee on the boundary commission. He added that the committee will also be strengthened financially so that it is able to speed up its work to meet its deadline.
Earlier this month, a British expert, Douglas H. Johnson, presented a public lecture on North-South boundaries in Juba after conducting an extensive research dating back to maps and descriptions of the original North-South boundary during the British colonial period.
Johnson was requested by the Presidency of the Government of Southern Sudan to conduct the research and present its findings to the Government.
His findings indicated that this incorrect North-South boundary of 1956 has taken some parts of Southern Sudan to Northern Sudan. The report indicated that the most contentious territories are in Upper Nile, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity states.
The demarcation of the North-South boundary is key to implementation of several protocols in the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It has great bearing on redeployment of forces, wealth sharing, population census, general elections and the 2011 referendum.