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S. Sudan, Sudan discusses key border issues

By James Atem Kuir

Discussions between South Sudan-Sudan by Joint Border Committee (JBC), began yesterday in Khartoum to resolve disputes over contested areas between the two countries.

By March 2012, Joint Boundary Committee was formed in Ethiopia capital, Addis Ababa to determine the boundaries of the two nations and reach final agreement on all key border issues between the two sides.

Michael Makuei Lueththe Information Minister and Government Spokesperson who is a co-chair of the JBC, in a statement to SSBC over the weekends, said: “We came here to continue with a discussion on the outstanding issues, that is, on the disputed and claimed areas,”and stressing that: “We are optimistic that this time, we will be in a position to resolve some of the issues.”

Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, the two countries have not resolved contentions over the border areas of Abyei, Kaka El Tijariya, Debbat El Fukhar/Megenes Mountains, Bahr El Arab, and Kafia Kingi/ Hafrat El Nukhas. Some of these areas are said to be rich in minerals such asoil, copper and uranium among others.

Minister Makuei stated that yesterday’s discussions would be proceeded by presentation of findings bythe Joint Demarcation Committee (JDC), a sub-committee of the JBC tasked with researching facts about the contested areas.

“We’ll be receiving a report from the JDC (Joint Demarcation Committee) because it was given an assignment by the JBC to research, conduct and present findings to the JBC,” he said.

He urged the South Sudanese public to be patient saying: “There are people who believe that negotiations of borders is an event and as such, they are surprised when they see the committee moving every time without tangible results; in fact, negotiations of borders is one of the most difficult issues, it is not an event; it is a process, South Sudan is experiencing it now but some of the most advanced countries up to now have not resolved their issues of borders and I believe we may be better than them because our problem or dispute is not that difficult but complicated by others.”

In October 2019, the joint Boundary Demarcation Commission reached an agreement on delimitation between the two countries, but several disputed areas remained to be negotiated.

Recently, President Salva Kiir formed a committee to negotiate and reach final agreement on the status of the oil-rich region of Abyei. The area has continued to witnessdeadly raids and attacks on the inhabitant Dinka Ngok,perpetrated by the Arab nomads, the Misseriya who seasonally move there to graze their animals.

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