October 1, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir has issued directives to re-start exporting sorghum to South Sudan effective immediately, less than a week since the two countries signed a trade agreement among others covering security and oil.
- FILE PHOTO - Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit
Al-Bashir announced, in statements published on Tuesday by the privately-owned newspaper Al-Sudani, that he ordered the resumption of sorghum exports to South Sudan immediately in order to let citizens in both countries feel the effects of the agreements.
“The exporting process will begin immediately without waiting for the completion of arrangements preceding the [implementation] of the agreements signed with South Sudan” he said.
Al-Bashir added that the step “comes as a gesture of goodwill and as a confirmation of Sudan’s seriousness in abiding by what has been signed with South Sudan so that citizens on both sides can reap the fruit of the agreement as soon as possible”
The trade agreement is one of nine bilateral agreements covering the issues of oil, security and citizenship arrangements between the two neighbors. It provides for the establishment of two joint committees to regulate and promote trade relations.
Sudan banned cross-border trade with South Sudan in March this year as bilateral relations plummeted ahead of a brief war the two rivals fought around the oil-producing region one month later.
Al-Bashir said that he and his aides will personally ensure that Sudan implements its end of the agreements with South Sudan.
Sudan says the security arrangements agreement is the most important given that it provides for the establishment of a safe demilitarized border zone to be monitored by independent observers along the unmarked 1800 km common borders.
In his statements, Al-Bashir stroke an unusually conciliatory tone when he addressed the conflict in the country’s border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the Sudanese government has been fighting the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) since last year.
He said that the government is committed to discussing the issues of the two areas with the representatives of the two areas. “We have no veto on [SPLM-N’s deputy chairman] Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu or [SPLM-N’s chairman] Malik Aggar”
Al-Bashir also said he would meet members of the opposition in the next few days to brief them on the talks and agreements with South Sudan.