August 20, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the organizational bureau in Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) Hamid Sideeg expressed hope that the expected visit by South Sudan president Salva Kiir to Khartoum will provide new impetus to relations between the two countries.
- South Sudan"s President Salva Kiir (L) and Sudan"s President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir attend the Independence Day ceremony in South Sudan"s capital Juba July 9, 2011. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)
Sideeg noted in remarks to reporters on Tuesday the sweeping changes within the ranks of the government in Juba, by which the entire cabinet was changed, saying it is expected to have a positive impact on bilateral ties.
The NCP official said that the talks between Kiir and Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will tackle security arrangements, economic relations, trade and border problems between the two countries.
He claimed that South Sudan’s friends in the western sent a letter to Kiir which contained sharp criticism of the deterioration of the security, economic and political situation in the country.
Kiir’s second visit to Sudan since his country’s independence two years ago is seen as another sign of a thaw in relations between Khartoum and Juba.
An announcement by Bashir last June that Sudan will shutdown pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan was seen as a major setback in resolving outstanding issues between the two sides.
But afterwards, the Sudanese government twice agreed to postpone implementation of the closure in response to pleas by the African Union (AU) mediators and China.
Khartoum’s main grievance is that South Sudan backs anti-Khartoum insurgents operating in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur.
Juba denies the charge and in turn accuses Sudan of supporting rebels in Jonglei state.
AU committees have been established to verify claims of rebel harboring and support by the two countries.
In a related issue, the AU mediators began making arrangements for a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Committee (JPSC) between Khartoum and Juba in Addis Ababa in early September.
The security subcommittee will convene its third meeting in Khartoum today to finalize a report to be submitted to the AU mediation team.
The Secretary General of Sudan’s delegation in JPSC al-Muiz Farooq told reporters after the arrival of South Sudan’s delegation in Khartoum that the meeting which will be held on Wednesday is considered a "routine" one to discuss the implementation of the outcomes of the Juba meeting which took place last month.
Farooq said he expects the meeting to come up with important solutions within the framework of addressing all issues between the two countries
JPSC spokesman from South Sudan side Tor Deng said that the meeting will be open for one day to discuss pending items.