Sudan And South Sudan Agree to Open Border After Nearly 11 Years

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Sudan and South Sudan, two countries that were one not so long ago, have announced they will open up their borders after 11 years. The decision came after a high-level diplomatic meeting between the two countries held in Juba. The meeting also resolved to resume water transport between the two countries. Sudan and South Sudan also agreed to continue all aspects of field cooperation as they look to normalize relations in the coming years.

The Specifics of the New Deal

According to sources close to the matter, the meeting in Juba discussed a raft of issues for both parties. South Sudan and Sudan agreed to do more to enhance cooperation but at the moment, opening the border appears to be the first step of many. As of now, four major border crossings will be opened with immediate effect. They include Jebeleen-Renk, Buram – Tumsah, Meriam, and Kharsana -panakuac. There is also going to be a ceremony on October 1st to officially open the new crossings.

Delicate History Between the Two countries

South Sudan and Sudan have not always had a history of good relations. In fact, these two countries were actually one for so many years. However, a bloody civil war between the South and Khartoum raged for decades as the two parties looked to exact control over the massive oil fields in the South.

There were reports of massive human rights abuses, genocide, and crimes against humanity by militias linked to the Khartoum government. After decades of fighting and growing international pressure, South Sudan succeeded from Sudan in 2011, and by so doing become the 54th independent country in Africa.

The South also opted to join the East African Union and took over three-quarters of the oil from Sudan. Ever since relations between the two nations have deteriorated to massive effect.

Efforts to Reopen the Border in 2016

After the border was closed shortly after South Sudan’s independence in 2011, it affected trade and cooperation for both countries. In 2016, former Sudanese dictator Omar Al Bashir began diplomatic efforts to have the border opened.

However, this did not last long as growing suspicion between the two countries grew. However, the ouster of Al Bashir and the rise of a civilian-led government in Sudan appear to have changed the course of events. It is clear that the leadership in Khartoum is working to normalize relations with the South.

Political Turmoil in Sudan

The new border deal also comes during a period of political turmoil in Sudan. Just recently, the civilian government had been overthrown by the military albeit it was restored after massive international pressure. Sudan has also been rocked by pro-democracy protests as citizens look for more freedoms.

South Sudan has also had its fair share of turmoil as an independent nation. There has been a raging civil war between rival tribes in the country, a war that has seen thousands killed and many displaced. Despite this, the new border reopening is a great step in normalizing relations between the two countries.

Photo: Pixabay

About Nyambura Tabitha

Tabitha Nyambura is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with years of experience in digital publishing. Her focus is on politics and the economy. She has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years and continues to bring interesting stories that matter to readers all across East Africa.