Kiir, Bashir Meeting To Normalize Ties

Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Juba is on alert with the oil operating companies to make arrangements ahead of the proposed September 7 shutdown to avoid damages. [Gurtong]

Dr. Barnaba Marial, the South Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs told press that, Kiir’s preparatory teams from his office and Foreign Affairs have left on Sunday already to Khartoum.

“The purpose of that visit is really to enhance the commitment of the Cooperation Agreement and particular issues related to issue like continuation of oil flow, the issue connected with demarcation border, the issue of the freedom of movement of citizens of both sides and to resolve the issue connected with the demobilization at the borders of the two countries,” Marial told press at the Ministry in Juba.

Implementing the Cooperation Agreement, a UN and AU backed deal reached last year in September between Juba and Khartoum has remained a challenge between the long term foes; South Sudan and Sudan.

Recent relations between the two countries had grown bitter following Khartoum threats to shutdown South Sudan oil flow in June on accusations denied by Juba that it supports rebels fighting Sudan.

On September 7, 2013 Khartoum is expected to close the oil flow according to its extended dates last month.

Juba has remained worried over Khartoum silence whether it will shutdown the oil flow.

Marial said Juba is on alert with the oil operating companies to make arrangements ahead of the shutdown to avoid damages though he said talks between the two Presidents is likely to make a breakthrough deal.

“There is a new environment now where we can resolve our issues through dialogue and peacefully,” Marial said. “Now there is willingness on the side of the Republic of Sudan that we should talk to each other and talking to each other is better than fighting each other.”

“We don’t have any signal that Khartoum will extend the period but the fact that there is this willingness for the two leaders to meet and our President to respond to the invitation of President Bashir so that they can further discuss directly the issue they have been talking about through telephone is a good indication that there might be a probability that the oil may flow,” Marial added. 

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