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The agreements – signed in the Ethiopian capital under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel – included topics on security, the common border and economic relations aimed at enabling the two nations to fulfill their obligations under a so-called roadmap for easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing the relations between the two countries.
However, armed clashes along the common border have continued and outstanding post-independence issues remain, such as control of the oil-rich Abyei area.
In today’s statement, the Secretary-General commended both Presidents for their decision “to continue their efforts to resolve the Abyei issue in accordance with the implementation matrix,” and also urged the leaders to resolve their differences regarding the area’s final settlement.
The UN interim security force for Abyei (UNISFA) verified last month that troops from both Governments had begun to pull out of the demilitarized border zone. The UN Security Council had established a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), which consists of both sides and is tasked with monitoring the security situation in the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone.
In addition, Mr. Ban on Friday welcomed the resumption of oil production by South Sudan and its transit and export through Sudan’s oil pipeline “as an important sign of progress towards the normalization of relations between the two parties” following the establishment of the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone and the JBVMM.
The world’s youngest country had shut down its oil output last year but agreed to restart oil shipments in March. According to media reports, the first oil cargo is expected to reach Sudan’s Red Sea export terminal in Port Sudan next month.
Bashir made his first official visit to the Republic of South Sudan nearly two years since the latter attained independence in July 2011.
President Bashir who touched-down at half past 10 local time at Juba International Airport was received by President Salva Kiir Mayarit, the Speaker of Parliament Hon. James Wani Igga, ministers and other top government officials.
On the agenda of the meeting of the two heads of states is the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in September last year and matters of bilateral relations.
Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the official government spokesman described his visit as a signal of warm relations that Juba and Khartoum are geared towards after months of tension caused by disputes of unresolved post-referendum and other issues.