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MEDIATION-Team back after talks with Sudan junta

By James Atem Kuir

South Sudan mediation team has returned to Juba from Khartoum after days of ‘intensive talks’ with the Sudanese military authorities following the October military takeover.

The team led by the Presidential Advisor on National Security, Tut Gatluak Manime in the company of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MayiikAyii Deng among other officials, has been meeting the leaders of the coupand thedetained civilian officials of the deposed government since last week.

“This morning the media team led by Presidential Advisor on National Security, Tut GatluakManime together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,MayiikAyii Deng returned home from Khartoum after several days of intensive talks with the Sudanese in an effort to address the political tension in Sudan,” read the statement posted on the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperationyesterday.

On October 25, 2021, Sudanese military components of the transitionalgovernment- formed after the ouster of the longtime President Omar Hassan Al Bashir- detained civilian politicians including Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok as the junta led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolvedthe interimgovernment in a coup.

The political developmentssent shockwaves across the region as neighbouring countries – including South Sudan thatshare economic ties with the Sudan- expressed deep concerns over the uncertainty created by sudden political changes.

In the statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the mediation team urged the detained Sudanese civilian politicians to open to dialogue to end the tensionin the northern African country.

“Particularly, the mediation team met with the political detainees’ yesterday evening at the detention facility in Khartoum shortly before some of them were released.

“As part of the engagement to generate consensus among the political leaders, the mediation team shared views with detainees and urged them to be opened for dialogue so as to resolve the political impasse in the country,” the statement affirmed.

Last year, South Sudan successfully mediated the Juba Peace Agreement between the now deposed Sudanese transitional government and arms groups in the Darfur, Southern Blue Nile and Nuba Mountainsthat became part of the transitional government.

South Sudan uses the Sudanese pipeline to transport its crude oil throughPort Sudan, bordering the Red Sea to the world market. Oil proceeds contribute up to 90% of South Sudan revenues.

The two countries were also set to resume border trade for the first time since 2011 when Sudan closed its borders with South Sudan as relationsdeterioratedover the oil-rich border area of Panthou.

The coup has now setback the border reopening that would have brought economic benefits such as job creation and food security to the border communities of the two countries as they interact in trade.

Amid mounting pressure from the region and the international community to set free political detainees and restore the transitional government, the Sudanese military leadership on Thursday released four former ministers of the ousted governmentaccording to the SUNA news agency.

General al-Burhan was also quoted on Friday as agreeing “on the need to maintain the path of the democratic transition, the need to complete the structures of the transitional government and to speed up the formation of the government” after he spoke on the phone with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

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