Sudan, S. Sudan clinch package of security agreements
Sudan and South Sudan late on Sunday signed a package of security agreements related to the re-deployment of joint military forces along the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, and approved a plan to stop supporting and harboring rebels and open border crossings.
The joint Political and Security Committee between Sudan and South Sudan convened in Khartoum on Sunday in the presence of the foreign, defense and oil ministers of the two countries.
"The committee agreed to implement the joint agreements related to the demilitarized zone," local media quoted Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour as saying on Monday.
The two sides also agreed to stop supporting rebel groups in the two countries, he said, noting that the concerned security authorities in both countries would adopt specific measures in this regard.
South Sudan's Defense Minister Kuol Manyang, meanwhile, was reported to have said that the two sides agreed to carry out the joint cooperation agreements, and immediately embark on implementing the decisions reached during the meeting.
The South Sudanese minister admitted the presence of rebel groups in the two countries, saying "the rebel movements are a reality and their problem must be solved so that peace will prevail between the two countries."
The committee also agreed to gradually open the border crossings, and a joint border committee is to meet in Juba within two weeks to agree on dates and procedures for opening the 10 border crossings between the two countries.
The two sides agreed to ask the African Union to support the safe buffer zone and provide the two parties with the necessary technical teams, besides establishment of three consulates in the cities in the safe demilitarized border area.
The meeting also agreed to task a joint committee headed by the directors of intelligence services to address issues related to the disputed areas.
In September 2012, Sudan and South Sudan signed a cooperation agreement in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa under the patronage of the African Union.
The agreement included a package of understandings related to security, citizens' status and border and economic issues. However, the signed agreements did not tackle the issues of Abyei and border demarcation.
The border issue represents one of the biggest obstacles hindering the settlement of differences between Sudan and South Sudan, revolving around five border areas -- Abyei, Dabatal-Fakhar, Jabel Al-Migainis, Samaha and Kafia Kanji.