August 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese defense minister, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, has discussed in a phone conversation with his South Sudanese counterpart Kuol Manyang Juuk, on Friday the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed between the two countries and the activation of existing mechanisms to ensure enforcement of all security arrangements.
- Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Hussein (L) talks to his South Sudan counterpart John Kong Nyuon (R), as former South African President Thabo Mbeki (C) in Addis Ababa, March 8, 2013 (Reuters)
The Sudanese army spokesperson, Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, told Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) that the two parties have agreed to convene a meeting for the joint security committee on August 20 in Khartoum.
Col. Sa’ad said that both parties vowed to fully collaborate with the mechanisms set up by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to investigate complaints regarding harboring and support of rebel groups as well as determining the zero line for the demilitarized zone and demarcation of the border crossings.
The two countries signed a cooperation Agreement in September last year to address multiple issues but have faced challenges in the implementation of the nine sections of the deal, which includes security arrangements, oil, trade and borders, among others.
Last June, the Sudanese president ordered the closure of all pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan within 60-day period from the date of 9 June 2013 saying Juba keeps backing up anti-Khartoum insurgents.
However, the Sudanese government announced last Monday that it will extend the deadline to stop the flow of South Sudanese crude through its territory for the second time.
Sudan’s oil minister Awad Al-Jaz said that presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agreed to delay the stoppage by another two weeks until September 6th.
The agreement came "after positive developments in the Implementation Matrix led by the African Union chief mediator [Thabo Mbeki] who also brokered the extension", SUNA quoted Al-Jaz as saying at the time.
Following the recent changes within South Sudan’s government, Khartoum seemed optimistic that an understanding with Juba on the contentious issues could possibly be reached.
Earlier this month, the Sudanese presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie, was quoted as saying “Juba has now decided to improve its relations with Khartoum”, predicting that the recent changes within the government ranks there would strengthen relations and help implement the cooperation agreements signed between the two countries.