June 30, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The ministries of interior in Sudan and South Sudan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday dealing with a number of issues, including smuggling and border regulation.
- A South Sudanese man repairs fishing nets inside a shelter in al-Ghanaa village in the Jableen locality in Sudan’s White Nile state on 17 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The MoU was signed by the newly appointed Sudanese minister of interior, Esmat Zain al-Abdeen Abdel-Rahman, and his South Sudanese counterpart, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, who is currently on a visit to Khartoum.
“The agreement included the issues of concern to the ministries of interior and police of the two countries, and issues of anti-smuggling and regulating the crossings on the border,” Abdel-Rahman said.
He noted that “discussions on the agreement lasted for days during the meetings of the joint technical committee in Khartoum”.
“The signing is a step forward, and contributes to the convergence of views between the two sides on all contentious issues between them,” the Sudanese official said, without elaborating on disputed items.
Aleu said “the signing of the MoU represents a step for an agreement on a number of MoU’s between the two countries in all fields to serve the interests of the two peoples”.
Sudanese police said in a statement that the visit of the South Sudanese minister of interior comes as the two countries move to tighten coordination and cooperation between the Sudanese police and their counterparts in South Sudan in all areas of policing, as well as the exchange of expertise on matters of common interest.
The statement said the two sides also planned to hold a joint session of talks during the visit to deal with areas of developing bilateral ties and aspects of interaction in different policing areas.
The relationship between Khartoum and Juba has been strained since Sudan’s breakup into north and south in July 2011 under the results of a referendum held in January of same year.
After lengthy negotiations, the two countries signed a series of accords under the auspices of the African Union (AU) in September 2012, most notably on the exporting of South Sudan’s oil through Port Sudan and a security agreement which prevents either party from supporting rebels on either side of the border.
Sudan reportedly viewed a cabinet reshuffle carried out in South Sudan last year as favourable as it excluded figures it believed were hostile to Khartoum, along with retiring dozens of army generals believed to be supportive of Sudanese rebels.