President Salva Kiir has left the country this morning for a state visit to Khartoum to discuss areas of mutual cooperation between the two countries.
The visit comes a year after President Omar al Bashir was expected to visit Juba to encourage the parties to the peace agreement to fully implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.
Bashir’s visit which did not take place was requested by Kiir’s Advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Galuak who was part of a delegation to Khartoum lead by First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai in August, 2016.
No reasons were given for al Bashir’s failed visit to Juba.
The request was made at the time Sudan agreed to temporarily host former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar under conditions described by the Sudanese Minister of Information, Ahem Bilal Osman, as on “medical grounds.”
President Salva Kiir’s last visit to Khartoum was in 2014 where he was accompanied by National Ministers, and a number of businessmen from South Sudan.
Among the issues discussed three years ago were; border security which included the establishment of a demilitarized buffer zone between Sudan and South Sudan, and the implementation of the 2012 Cooperation Agreement which mainly guarantees four freedoms for citizens of both countries.
The President Secretary in the Office of President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek told Eye Radio that this [current] visit will again evaluate areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“The state visit has three agenda to discuss; One, is the issue of border and also the issue of trade, so that there is a flow of goods after opening borders. There are security matters that are attached to the opening of the borders,” Ateny said.
“And then the opening of the oil well in Bentiu area that’s in the former Unity state. It is crucial that Sudan has to be engaged.”
Kiir’s visit was preceded by the meeting between the Minister of Defense Kuol Manyang and Sudanese Defense Minister on Monday where an agreement to reactivate the security arrangement was signed.
Speaking to the media at Khartoum airport, the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei, said the visit is aimed at easing any existing tension between the two countries.
“This visit is very important as the two presidents will put the road-map of the implementation of the cooperation agreements. In the same time the visit will normalize the relations between our two countries in the favor of our two nations,” Makuei said.
“The high level ministerial team from South Sudan arrived here before the visit of President Salva Kiir, and we can assure you here that we have reached a full understanding over the interests of our two nations,” Sudanese Minister of Information, Ahmed Bilal Osman said in the same media address.
The two Presidents are expected to sign more agreements tomorrow, Thursday.