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North & South sign accord on establishing diplomatic relations

June 30, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The governments of North and South Sudan signed an agreement today on establishing diplomatic relations following the country’s breakup next month.

South Sudan is due to become an independent African country on 9 July after voting for secession in a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

The deputy foreign minister Rahmatalla Osman who met with South Sudan Undersecretary of regional cooperation Majok Walden told reporters that the choice of ambassadors is a political and procedural matter that will be determined in due course.

He further said that an agreement was reached on the technical frameworks that will govern the diplomatic relations between the two sides adding that special department will be created in the foreign ministry to deal with the South.

The space that will be allocated to the embassies of both countries reached an advanced stage, Osman said. He expressed the North’s willingness to help the South in having a foreign ministry that is up and running.

Majok on his end revealed that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has been officially invited to the independence ceremony and will be the only head of state received by Salva Kiir at the airport.

He said that the signing of the first agreement between the North and South is out of a desire was to strengthen the eternal relations between the two sides. The Southern official pledged to engage in constructive diplomatic dialogue especially with regards to political issues between the two countries in the future.

Majok confirmed what presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie said yesterday about the nine months period given to Southerners in the North and Northerners in the South to seek necessary permits to stay and work or depart.

However he stressed that repatriation to South Sudan will be voluntary.

On relations with Israel, the minister said that South Sudan will focus initially on building ties with regional countries and pointed out that the Jewish state has no borders with them.

(ST)