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Sudan completes troop pull out from buffer zone with South Sudan

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June 26, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Sunday said it has completed the re-deployment of its troops along the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) with South Sudan.

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SAF spokesperson Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami (Photo Defence Ministry website)

In September 2012, the two Sudan’s signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking and border trade, among others.

On 14 October 2015, South Sudan’s defence minister Kuol Manyang Juuk and his Sudanese counterpart Awad Ibn Ouf signed an agreement to operationalize the buffer zone between the two countries.

But the Joint Political and Security Committee (JPSC) meetings to decide the effective activation were adjourned several times due to the security situation in South Sudan.

Following the JSPC meetings in Khartoum on June 5th, the two countries signed a series of security agreements, including immediate re-deployment of joint military forces along the SDBZ, and approved a plan to stop supporting and harbouring rebels as well as open the crossings points.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, SAF spokesperson Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami said the redeployment of the troops came in implementation of the JSPC’s decisions.

“Accordingly, Sudan declares the completion of the re-deployment of its troops outside the SDBZ and a report in this regard has been submitted to the African Union High Implementation Panel on 25 June 2016” read the statement.

The two sides agreed during the JSPC meeting to immediately start enforcing the agreed decision on the buffer zone and submit a report to the AUHIP within 21 days.

The SDBZ would be established along 2,100 km on the 1956 border line and at a distance of 10 kilometers on each side of the borders.

Al-Shami pointed that the completion of the re-deployment of the Sudanese troops underlines Khartoum’s keenness to promote relations with Juba and to move it to a new phase that would witness further military and security cooperation between the two nations.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9th 2011 following a referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should remain a part of the country or become independent. 99% of the southern voters chose independence.

Observers say that strained relations between the two countries and the internal crises they are currently facing are direct consequence of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which failed to adequately address several post-cessation issues.

(ST)

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