Move to Reopen Sudan and South Sudan Borders Lauded as Mutually Beneficial

Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (left) and South Sudan President Salva Kiir

The decision to reopen three borders connecting Sudan and South Sudan has been applauded as an initiative that will bring about benefits to both countries that separated in 2011 through a referendum.

Various leaders have lauded the move including a Catholic Church leader.

“It maintains relationship and facilitates for both countries Sudan and South Sudan to reach one another,” Secretary General of Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), Fr. Peter Suleiman told ACI Africa Tuesday.

“I am in favour for free movements,” Fr. Suleiman added.

On September 12, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok agreed to reopen three entry points including El-Khurasana in Sudan’s Western Kordofan state, Heglig in South Sudan’s former Unity State, and Kafiakinji in Raja of South Sudan, various media reported.

The decision to reopen these border check points is seen as a move to revitalize trade between the two countries and give free movement between the two independent nations.

“We hope to have very prosperous relationship that will address issues of trade, border issue, oil, free movement of our people between the two countries and all these agendas,” Sudan Prime Minister Hamdok has been quoted as saying.

“I believe (that) he (Hamdok) is going to come up with very strong effective policies … especially the issue of the oil and we are really one people, two countries,” South Sudan Vice President James Wani told journalists in Juba soon after the agreement to open the borders was reached.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Asma Mohamed expressed optimism between their nations saying Sudanese and South Sudanese are still “brothers and sisters” despite Sudan’s 21-year civil war, which led to South Sudan’s secession.

“We have been one country and now we are two countries but we are still one nation and we hope to develop our relations,” Mohamed told the press in South Sudanese capital, Juba.

“We would like also to take the opportunity of the positive atmosphere between the two countries to further our cooperation and make sure that all the issues between our two countries will be solved,” he added.

On her part, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister in South Sudan Awut Deng hoped for lasting peace saying, “I think time has come for us in the two countries to silence the guns.”

“The war is no more options for our people,” she continued and added, “We need to have peace and sustainable peace in the two countries.”

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]