By Tor Madira Machier,Flanked by a top-notch ministerial delegation, President Salva Kiir Mayardiit of South Sudan – aboard an unidentified airliner – landed at Khartoum international airport in the Sudanese capital where he was received, upon arrival, by his Sudanese counterparts Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir last week.
For the two governments, the Sudanese and the South Sudanese, the two-day high level visit by the South Sudanese president and his team and the subsequent engagement rendered to him by the Sudan’s Bashir, is expected to help normalise bilateral efforts the two governments struggled, in the past, to exert in solving pending issues of the post-independent era of South Sudan, Abyei and the border issues for example, and the search for ways to implement the 2012′ ‘Cooperation Agreement’ which has seen, for many reasons, setbacks after its signing by the two Sudans.
In regards to the pending issues, and Abyei as a model, observers should look into extend the two sides renders their disagreements in regards to the Abyei issue. For the Sudan, Abyei is a Sudanese territory and so, the semi-Arab country derails any talks or discussions about Abyei when it touch Sudan’s sovereignty over the disputed region, this also might also be the case for South Sudan. The two sides has been referring to the 2009 Abyei Tribunal, whose details remain anonymous to most citizens of the two countries, when justifying their respective claims over the disputed area.
The other issue is the border demarcation between the two countries. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the continent’s longest civil war in 2005 and the Cooperation Agreement signed after the Heglig Crisis in 2012 recognized the “1956 border line”. However, the two countries have never agreed to locate the 1956 border and this has been the main reason why the Border Demarcation committee has never been successful in doing their job since its inception.
As for the implementation of the previous agreements the two countries signed and the 2012’s Cooperation Agreement in particular, the two countries lack both military and economic capacity to enforce the agreement. For example, Sudan and South Sudan do not control their border which is mostly occupied by insurgents fighting both countries. And in regards to economy, the South has a failed economic system and can not pay for the cost of the implementation of the agreement while Sudan can not or may not be able to pay the cost alone.
Other agreements signed by the two leaders and delegations of both countries have never been implemented either because of lack of willingness to implementing them or lack of capabilities to implement them.
For ties to normalise between the two Sudans, there is a long road to pursue for the two governments and this trip by Salva Kiir doesn’t signal anything new to the bilateral relations of the two countries nor does it tell a possible prospect for the fate of the pending issues between the two countries.
Tor Madira Machier is a South Sudanese columnist living in Egypt and he can be reached via email@example.com or tor machier.blogspot.com
Our South Sudan