January 18, 2023 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Hussein Abdel Bagi Akol said Sudan is ready to open entry points, reiterating the Juba government’s commitment to implement the 2012 Cooperation Agreement seeking to boost trade and allow free movement of people between the two nations.
He was speaking in the South Sudanese capital, Juba on Wednesday.
“Some of the incidents at the border areas like what happened last week in Warguet in Northern Bahr el Ghazal are incidents which would automatically be resolved by trade and movement of the people, services, and goods between the two countries,” said Abdelbagi.
The Vice President, also chair of the Services Cluster, sent condolences to families of the two officers shot dead in Warguet area on January 13, 2023.
He, however, clarified that the recent closure of the border was a temporary security measure aimed at containing the volatile situation.
“That was a security measure to contain the situation. It was not a decision to close the border, explained. When the situation improves, movement resumes because it is in the interest of the people in the two countries. There will be movement. Goods and services will continue to be exchanged because this is something unavoidable,” explained Abdelbagi.
The Vice President said the leaderships of Sudan and South Sudan are working to formalize cross-border movements to promote trade and enhance security between the two neighbouring countries.
He further said that there was an urgent need to use the buffer zones as free trade areas for the benefit of the two countries.
“We are working to ensure that border crossing movements for goods and services in areas like Meram, Joda, Heglig, and as far Raja area with Darfur are formalized. The leaders are working hard to ensure that these border areas are opened as soon as possible. We want all 10 border points to be it road, rail, or river transport to open,” stressed Abdelbagi.
The leadership, according to the country’s Vice President, had already restructured the established Joint Political security Mechanism (JPSM) comprising officials from the two countries and that the officials have been meeting over the past two months at technical levels to draw action plans.
He said opening the border between the two countries would boost trade, in addition to strengthening and diversifying economies of both countries.
Khartoum and Juba had long-time traded accusations of support to respective rebel groups.
In September 2012, however, Sudan and South Sudan signed nine cooperation agreements, including a framework agreement and specific agreements on oil, border issues, citizenship, and the division of debts and assets. These represented many of the unresolved issues stemming from the secession of South Sudan in July 2011.