January 6, 2013 (JUBA/KHARTOUM) – The South Sudanese foreign affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin will most likely travel to Khartoum on Tuesday, the ministry’s spokesperson Mawien Makol told Sudan Tribune.
- South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, September 13, 2011 (ST)
The visit comes a day after Sudan’s president Omer Hassan al-Bashir visited his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, in the wake of ongoing political unrest in the new nation.
Marial earlier told the pro-government Ashorooq TV that he would visit Khartoum to discuss the outcome of the Bashir-Kiir summit on the joint border force proposal.
Bashir has vowed to support ongoing peace talks seeking to restore stability in the country.
On Saturday, Marial told reporters in Juba that he was optimistic Khartoum would exert positive efforts to achieve reconciliation between South Sudan’s conflicting parties, stressing that Khartoum was at equal distance from the two warring sides.
US DECISION CRITICISED
He also criticised Washington’s decision to reduce the number of its embassy staff in Juba, describing the move as “unwise”.
Washington began withdrawing its non-essential staff in Juba in mid-December and said on Friday that it would evacuate more staff, urging all US nationals to leave South Sudan.
The US embassy said that as of 4January it would no longer be able to provide any consular services to its citizens in the country.
The evacuation order comes as ceasefire talks get underway in Ethiopian capital Addis Abababetween the South Sudanese government delegation and rebels loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar.
Last month, clashes erupted in South Sudan amid fighting among a group of soldiers in the capital, Juba. The violence quickly spread to other states, leaving over 1,000 dead and nearly 200,000 homeless.
East African regional leaders and the international community have already backed calls for dialogue in a country, which suffered over two decades of civil war before a 2005 peace deal led to its independence from Sudan two years ago.