October 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan announced that they have embarked on arrangements for opening border crossings with South Sudan.
- Refugees fleeing Blue Nile, Sudan into Ethiopia (UN)
Since 2011, the two states have been witnessing armed conflict between the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) and the Sudanese army.
Officials in both states said that the opening of the crossings represents an economic, social and security importance for the two states.
In September of last year, Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, and border trade among others.
After several months of an apparent setback, the two countries signed an implementation matrix last March for these cooperation agreements.
The governor of South Kordofan state, Adam Al-Faki, told the pro-government Ashorooq TV that his government has a clear plan for opening crossings in Abu Gibaiha, Al-Liri, Talodi, and Al-Tartara in order to improve relations with South Sudan.
He stressed his government’s will to strengthen ties with the Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan through exchange of visits.
A government official in South Kordofan state said that they are seeking to achieve economic gains for the benefit of the citizens in the state according to the cooperation agreements signed with South Sudan.
The commissioner of Talodi locality, Ali Dafalla, said that flexible borders between the two countries would enhance the flow of goods between the two areas.
Traders in the state called for speeding up the procedures for opening crossings, pointing to the positive role it could play in resolving the outstanding issues between the two countries.
A trader in South Kordofan capital city of Kadougli, Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed, called for expediting the opening of the crossings for the benefit of the people in the state and in South Sudan’s states, describing the decision as a move in the right direction.
Another trader, Musa Elias, predicted that the move would increase the revenues of the borer states in South Sudan.
People in the Blue Nile state agree that opening border crossings would have positive social, economic, and security impact, but political parties fear that South Sudan’s great demand for goods will cause scarcity in the state.
The commissioner of Al-Kurmuk locality on the borders with South Sudan, Al-Noor Al-Rubatabi, hinted that the opening of crossings would limit rebellion activity and enhances security.