News

    Sudan, South Sudan Presidents to Meet

    President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, left, with Sudan President Omar al-Bashir in Juba, South Sudan, April 2011.
    President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, left, with Sudan President Omar al-Bashir in Juba, South Sudan, April 2011.

    Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday initialed preliminary agreements on two of three contentious issues left over from their breakup last year.  Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is expected to travel to the South Sudanese capital, Juba, soon for a formal signing ceremony.

    Talks that began early this month with a shouting match came to a close with a new spirit of compromise.  Delegations from Khartoum and Juba sat side by side and initialed accords that commit the two states to work together to settle outstanding border and citizenship issues.

    The more difficult issue of oil was put aside until after the nationalities and border agreements are formally signed at a meeting of both countries' presidents.  It will be President Bashir's first visit to Juba since South Sudan gained independence last July.

    No date for the summit has been set, but officials say it will likely be in few weeks.

    The African Union mediator at the talks, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, said the two agreements were reached after the two sides stopped the harsh rhetoric that had characterized early meetings.

    "They agreed that they needed to do a broader review of the manner in which the negotiations are being conducted and, therefore, decided that for this particular session during these few days, let us adjourn for a little while the specific discussion on oil and related matters to give themselves time to discuss the broader issue of the manner in which the negotiations have been conducted," said Mbeki.

    Early sessions had been characterized by harsh words, particularly from chief South Sudan negotiator Pagan Amum.  He had accused Sudan of stealing Southern Sudanese oil and "beating the drums of war" to enhance its negotiating position.

    But on Tuesday, as he initialed the nationalities and border accords, Amum spoke of a new spirit of cooperation that he called a “win for both countries.”

    "We develop hard positions over time," said Amum. "But in this round, we came to the realization that we need to change our approach.  Both the delegation of Sudan and South Sudan approached the panel with this new spirit, new methodology, to approach the negotiations.  And the essence of this approach is to work as partners rather than as adversaries."

    The two sides remain far apart on their bitter and costly dispute over oil.  South Sudan shut down oil production in January, and the pause in talks until after the summit means production is unlikely to restart for months.

    The most important achievement at the latest session was the deal that commits both countries to respect the rights of each others' citizens.  Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki said that under the agreement, freedom of residence, freedom of movement and property rights will be guaranteed.

    "We are very happy about this because it should give an assurance to the populations in South Sudan and Sudan that indeed both countries are determined to protect the interests of the ordinary people in the context of the change that has taken place," he said.

    The agreement on borders creates a joint ministerial-level committee that will begin the work of demarcating stretches of the border that are not in dispute.

    Mbeki said the two sides will convene a high-level security committee meeting before the Juba summit.  That committee is charged with monitoring a non-aggression pact signed earlier this year.  Each side has accused the other of violating the accord.   

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: santino m
    March 17, 2012 8:15 AM
    I congratulate un top odisfficial who warn south sudan about the ongoing tribal ethic conflict indeed if disarmament is not 100 percent. then it will be worst before.

    by: Angelo Ungery
    March 13, 2012 4:50 PM
    . We the people of south sudan don't want to see this criminal to put his foot in our holy land. He announced war already against us. what he wants from us? He closed his border since May 2011. Bashir does not want anything good for the people of south sudan. do we think God has change his heart and he has become a good person. I don't think so. He knows that he can't fight us; so now he is looking for anyway so that he can steal our oil again. we know arab very well.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora