Added by Erik West on April 12, 2013
On his first visit to South Sudan since July 2011 – when South Sudan became an independent state – President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan said Sudan and South Sudan will normalize ties and start cross-border cooperation.
“This visit shows the start of cooperation based on a normalization of relations between the two countries,” Bashir said in a speech, in the capital Juba.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir said he agreed with Bashir to continue to work to solve all outstanding conflicts between the African neighbours.
Before Bashir’s plane touched down at Juba airport, South Sudan’s information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin had said Bashir’s visit “will be good for the future of the two countries”
Benjamin added, “There should be peace between the two countries”
In March, the two nations agreed to resume oil trade between them, and agreed to work to reduce or eliminate tensions that have been a difficult issue since South Sudan became an independent country in July 2011 after several decades of civil war.
South Sudan’s independence created a long list of disputes over territory, plus how much the nation would have to pay to export oil to Sudan. South Sudan is landlocked and must rely on pipelines into Sudan to export its oil.
Bashir had planned to visit South Sudan’s capital, Juba, a year ago – the trip was cancelled when fighting erupted along the two nations’ borders.
Abyei province and other regions along the disputed 2,000km border remain open issues for discussion.
The information minister commented, “They need to talk about the Abyei administration and things related to the Abyei area”.