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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid