from Africa in Transition

Sudan and South Sudan: Some Hopeful Movement on Border Issues

February 27, 2012

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Sub-Saharan Africa

Sudan

South Sudan

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Territorial Disputes

Delegations from South Sudan (Juba) and Sudan (Khartoum) have announced they will meet immediately to demarcate the border between the two countries. The goal is for the talks to be completed within three months. However, this round of negotiations will not address five disputed areas, about which talks will continue. In another border issue, the Khartoum press reports that the two countries have signed an agreement to monitor border areas and to open ten crossing points along the 2200km border.

The border between the two states, along with the division of oil revenue and questions of nationality for those from the North who now live in the South and vice versa are among the vexatious issues that were not addressed before South Sudan became independent.

Meanwhile both Khartoum and Juba accuse the other of supporting rebel groups. There are also difficult ethnic and land-use issues.

Both migratory and agricultural people living in the disputed territories and along the border have been subject to nearly unspeakable atrocities, perpetrated especially by Khartoum ostensibly to suppress rebel groups, and to famine. (Khartoum denies access by international assistance organizations to many border areas.) Nicholas Kristof, in a New York Times February 23 op-ed, describes clandestinely visiting areas in the Nuba mountains, an area regularly subject to Khartoum bomb attacks. His conclusion: “This is a mass atrocity that has attracted little attention: a government starving its people, massacring them, raping them, and bombing them – in hopes of crushing a rebel movement.”

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