“We hope the outstanding differences between their governments can now be addressed urgently and with equal resolve, for the sake of the people of Sudan and South Sudan,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a press release yesterday.
“The fates of Sudan and South Sudan are intertwined. One can’t prosper without the other. In recent times, the people of both countries have faced needless hardship,” added the statement.
The leadership of the two countries last week inked a partial deal on numerous post secession issues which have remained a breeding ground of conflicts between the two countries.
“The reason was a lack of trust between these people’s leaders. These agreements go a very long way to building this trust, and we pray the people will start to see the benefits as soon as possible,” they said.
Significantly the lives of ordinary people in both countries could be dramatically improved by these agreements, which open the door to the resumption of oil flows and trade and offer a mutual guarantee of rights of movement, property, residence and work for Sudanese and South Sudanese citizens living in the other country.
They hope that the leaders of the two countries will build on this momentum to address, in particular, the demarcation of the borders and the status of the disputed oil-rich area of Abyei.
They also emphasize the urgent need for the conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to be resolved in the Sudanese states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.
The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu (Chair). Nelson Mandela is an honorary Elder.