September 9, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – A South Sudanese official acknowledged that some Juba officials in the previous cabinet acted as impediments to developing relations with Khartoum.
- South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (R) is welcomed by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir as he arrives for talks at Khartoum Airport, Sepember 3, 2013. (Photo Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
"There were parties in the government of South [Sudan] that hindered the evolution of the relationship between the north and south in the past," the spokesman for the Embassy of South Sudan Deng Gabriel said in an interview with the pro-government Ashorooq TV on Sunday.
"The new government is very good and is fulfilling the purposes of relations between the two countries," Gabriel added.
Last July, Kiir dissolved the entire cabinet of South Sudan, sacking his long-time deputy, Riek Machar, in a move that surprised many observers and ordinary citizens alike.
Sudanese official expressed relief over Kiir’s move saying it will pave the way for enhancing ties with Juba.
Gabriel went on to say that last week’s summit between Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir in Khartoum managed to settle several outstanding issues particularly on security and bilateral relations.
He emphasized that the borders between the two countries will be for communication and intermingling to promote the interests of the two countries.
"The borders will be symbolic and not an erected wall," he said.
The embassy spokesperson noted the launching of South Sudan’s first commercial airlines which landed in Khartoum yesterday.
"People were happy with the move and this proves that the implementation of the conventions do not require mediators," he said.
Gabriel stressed that the joint security committees between the two countries are working on a regular basis in line with the implementation matrix signed last March.
The South Sudan diplomat denied the existence of tensions between the neighboring armies in the disputed border areas.
On Abyei, Gabriel said that South Sudan insists that resolving the dispute should be based on the 2005 Abyei protocol and the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
He disclosed that Sudan rejected Juba’s offer to mediate with rebel groups operating in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Khartoum accuses Juba of backing the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) which has launched several attacks recently mainly in South Kordofan and even in North Kordofan which is not considered a conflict zone.
Juba denies the charges and in turns accuses Khartoum of supporting rebels in Jonglei state.
An African Union commission has been formed to verify rebel support claims by each side.