News / Africa

Bashir Pledges Peace in South Sudan Visit

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (R) welcomes his Sudan counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir outside his Presidential office in Juba, April 12, 2013. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (R) welcomes his Sudan counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir outside his Presidential office in Juba, April 12, 2013.
x
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (R) welcomes his Sudan counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir outside his Presidential office in Juba, April 12, 2013.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (R) welcomes his Sudan counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir outside his Presidential office in Juba, April 12, 2013.
Reuters
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said on Friday he wanted peace and normal relations with South Sudan in his first visit there since it split off from his country in 2011 after decades of civil war.
       
The neighbors agreed in March to resume pumping oil through pipelines from south to north and ease the tensions which had threatened to reignite the war between them that had killed more than two million people.

Diplomats hope Bashir's visit will help the two sides
overcome deep mistrust and solve their remaining disputes over the ownership of Abyei and other contested border regions.

Bashir, who cancelled a visit to Juba a year ago when border fighting almost flared into full-scale war, said in a speech in the southern capital that he had ordered Sudan's borders with South Sudan to be opened for traffic.
       
"I have instructed Sudan's authorities and civil society to open up to their brothers in the Republic of South Sudan,'' Bashir said, alongside South Sudan's President Salva Kiir.
     
Kiir said he had agreed with Bashir to continue talks to
solve all conflicts over disputed regions along their volatile 2,000 kilometer frontier.

"I and President Bashir agreed to implement all cooperation agreements,'' Kiir said.
       
After their meeting in the presidential office, Bashir, who invited Kiir to visit Khartoum, swapped his business suit for a traditional white robe to join Friday prayers in the Kuwaiti-built mosque in central Juba.
       
"I came to Juba because we now have the biggest chance to make peace,'' he told 400 Muslim worshippers from South Sudan and the Sudanese expatriate community.
       
"We won't go back to war. President Kiir and I agreed that the war was too long,'' said Bashir, who last visited Juba to attend South Sudan's independence ceremony on July 9, 2011.
      
"We need peace"

In the ramshackle capital Juba, where main roads were closed and festooned with the flags of both countries, residents said they hoped Bashir's visit would finally bring peace.
       
"We need to live in harmony. We need peace between Sudan and South Sudan,'' said 22-year-old engineering student Robert Mori.
       
Edmund Yakani, head of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), which promotes civil society values, said Bashir's presence showed he wanted peace.

South Sudan, the world's newest state, shut down its 350,000 barrel a day oil output in January 2012 at the height of a pipeline fee dispute, with devastating effect on both struggling economies.

The two sides subsequently agreed to restart oil shipments, grant each others' citizens residency, increase border trade and encourage close cooperation between their central banks.
       
Last week, South Sudan relaunched crude production with the first oil cargo expected to reach Sudan's Red Sea export terminal at Port Sudan by the end of May.
       
Both nations withdrew troops from border areas as agreed in an African Union-brokered deal in September. But they took until March to set up the demilitarised border zone, due to mistrust.

But even as Bashir's visit raised hopes of eased tension on Sudan's southern border, conflict has flared up again in its western region of Darfur, forcing some 50,000 Sudanese to flee into neighbouring Chad over the past week.

Fighting has ravaged Darfur since 2003 when mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-led government, accusing it of politically and economically marginalising the region.
       
The violence has fallen off from its peak in 2003 and 2004, but a fresh surge has forced more than 130,000 people to flee their homes this year, according to the United Nations.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid