NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday commended the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan for the progress they have made in talks aimed at resolving post-independence issues.
Ban said both parties have taken ‘an important step forward’ as they agreed on the status of nationals of each State, as well as the demarcation of the common boundary. It “is an important step forward and an encouraging manifestation of both parties’ spirit of cooperation and partnership,” he added, according to a statement issued by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.
Earlier in the week, media reports said that Sudan and South Sudan had signed an agreement that provides for free movement and residence of their citizens in each other’s territory.
In addition, Ban encouraged the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, and his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir, to urgently resolve all other outstanding matters. Resolving the issues, Ban noted, would make the compromises that will guarantee a peaceful and prosperous future for both countries.
Furthermore, the Secretary-General congratulated the African Union’s High-Level Implementation Panel, which is led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, for its constant efforts to conclude the negotiations between the two States.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July last year following a referendum on self-determination that capped the implementation of an agreement signed in 2005 to end decades of warfare between the north and the south.
However, the two countries continued to feud over several unresolved issues, including the delineation of the border, control of the disputed territory of Abyei, and more recently tariffs charged by Sudan on South Sudan for the use of a pipeline and port to export oil.