June 9, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government said its relations with Sudan will not be affected by the activities of representatives from the rebel SPLM-In-Opposition who held a press conference in Khartoum last Thursday, triggering protests from its embassy in the capital.
- South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, is accompanied by his Sudanese counterpart Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) after arriving at Khartoum Airport on 5 April 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The South Sudanese embassy Saturday protested against a permission given to the rebel spokesperson, Yohanis Musa Pouk, to hold a press conference in Khartoum saying it represents a “clear violation” to the cooperation agreement signed by the two countries in September 2012.
But the ruling National Congress Party swiftly reacted to the protest saying Sudan is supportive to the legitimate government in Juba and as a member of the IGAD mediation team intends to hear all the parties to end the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
In Juba, South Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson, Mawien Makol in an interview with Sudan Tribune expressed commitment of his government to resolve divergences with the neighbouring Sudan through diplomatic channels and talks without letting them “affect” bilateral ties.
“Our relations with our neighbouring countries, including Sudan will not be affected by the activities of the rebels. We will continue to keep close contacts with them as normal. It is actually the policy of the government to ensure that developing close bilateral relations with our neighbours remain our top priority,” Makol said on Monday.
“So we do not have any problem with the visit of the rebels to our neighbouring countries if it is for peace. What we request is that these countries emphasis to the rebels the need to support peaceful dialogue as the means to resolving whatever issues they are raising,” he further said.
The two countries since September 2012 failed to implement the signed agreements particularly those related to border demarcation, Abyei and security arrangements and the buffer zone.
Also Sudan last May accused Juba of using rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to fight Machar’s rebels in Unity state.
Ambassador Makol further said his country stands ready to work with Sudan to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
He explained that both sides have held several meetings in recent months to resolve some security issues and additional efforts continue to be made to find a solution through the working mechanism for consultation and coordination at high level headed by foreign ministry officials of both sides.
The mechanism was established under the cooperation agreement and relations have scored considerable progress with ever deepening political mistrust, although diplomatic officials have claimed to have made fruitful achievements in practical cooperation as well as sound coordination and cooperation in international and regional issues.