September 26, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and South Sudan security officials agreed on Thursday to expel rebel groups from the demilitarised zone on the border between the two countries as part of their efforts to normalise relations and open crossing points.
The joint security committee held a meeting in Juba from 24 to 26 September chaired by the heads of Sudanese and South Sudanese military intelligences respectively generals Sideeg Amir Hassan and Mac Paul.
In a joint statement released in Khartoum following the meeting, said that the discussions were frank and open, and the parties expressed their sincere and serious resolve to tackle the different concerns and problems.
"The Joint Security Committee recommended the expulsion of the rebel elements located in the demilitarised area", said the statement adding that there was "a clear decline of complaints from both sides".
Last May, Sudan threatened to stop flow of the South Sudanese crude to the international market through its territory after accusing Juba of continuing to breach a security deal signed in September 2012 within the framework of the Cooperation Agreement.
Khartoum accused Juba of backing rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile as well as their allies in Darfur groups. In return, Juba said that rebels in the troubled Jonglei state are supported by the Sudanese government.
A mechanism formed by the African Union Peace and Security Council has just terminated several trips to Sudan and South Sudan where they visited areas where the rebels are allegedly present. It is expected to hand over its findings to the African Union soon.
Since last year, the rebel SPLM-N says controlling more than 40% of the Sudan international border with the South Sudan.
"The establishment of a demilitarised buffer zone emphasizes the urgency and the necessity to include the SPLM-N in order to reach an effective demilitarised buffer zone", said Yasir Arman SPLM-N secretary general in different statements.
The joint security committee agreed to release the prisoners of war detained following the clashes of April 2012 in Heglig area, and to facilitate the return of South Sudanese civilians from Sudan.
Also they agreed to task intelligence teams and officers on the border areas to coordinate their activities and exchange intelligence and visits.
The joint committee further said they will redeploy troops in the demilitarized zone in line with the conclusions of the joint teams.
Interior ministers in both countries agreed in Juba on 24 September to open 10 crossing points to allow the movement of people and goods between the two sides of border.
South Sudan interior minister Aleu Ayieny Aleu and his Sudanese counterpart, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid also agreed on cancellation of the entry visa for holders of the diplomatic, official and trade passports from both countries.
In statements from New York, Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti hailed the improvement of relations between Khartoum and Juba saying Sudan relations with South Sudan relations have never been as good as now since the independence of the latter in July 2011.
He further said the two countries are working to resolve the outstanding issues stressing that bilateral meetings through the different mechanisms would contribute to settle it. Adding that their disagreement over Abyei would not be an obstacle to move forward.
He also praised the efforts exerted by the African Union and its panel on the two Sudans to help the two countries to end the different issues that resulted from the secession of South Sudan.