South Not Interested in War with Sudan, Kiir Tells Eritrean FM
June 23, 2013 (JUBA) – President Salva Kiir repeated on Saturday his insistence that South Sudan is not interested in returning to war with neigbouring Sudan, asserting that the two countries need peace.
The president made the remark during a meeting with the Eritrean foreign affairs minister, Osman Saleh Mohammed, who is currently visiting Juba.
Mohammed told Kiir that Asmara is willing to assist the two Sudans in resolving the many issues that remain outstanding from the south’s independence in 2011, including oil and border disputes.
Eritrea provided support to the former southern rebels that now govern the young nation, at points during the two decades civil war.
However, relations between Asmara and Khartoum have improved in recent years especially after a recent report from research group, Smalls Arms Survey, indicated that Eritrean weapons may have found their way to rebel groups in South Sudan.
The meeting, which was also attended by South Sudan’s foreign minister Nhial Deng Nhial, enabled "very good discussions and briefings on current political situation with the republic of Sudan", Osman said.
President Kiir, according to the diplomat, was very open and expressed willingness to resolve the differences with Sudan.
"He [Kiir] told me that he is not interested in war with Sudan which is a very important message”, he said.
Mohammed said he had to deliver a message of peace and readiness to assist the two countries to resolve their differences amicably from the Eritrean president, Isaias Afewerki.
“I have also delivered the message of our readiness to assist in resolving the differences because we want our brothers and sisters in Sudan and South Sudan to live in peace”, Osman told reporters on Saturday shortly after meeting president Kiir.
South Sudan’s foreign minister, Nhial Deng Nhial, said Juba remained committed to the full implementation of all previous agreements the ruling SPLM had signed with Sudan.
"The president clearly stated the position of the government of the Republic of South Sudan to fully implement the Cooperation Agreement on oil, trade, citizenship, border security and other issues signed in September last year", he emphasised.
Oil exports resumed in March, but Khartoum has threatened to halt the export of crude from landlocked South Sudan through its territory, accusing Juba of backing a Sudanese rebel coalition that is trying to end the almost 24-year rule of the National Congress Party.
Nhial said that president Kiir restated his government does not provide support to the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), which includes the SPLM-North in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, who fought with the south against the NCP previous civil war.
“The Republic of South Sudan does not support rebels fighting Khartoum. It is in our interest not to destabilise the government of Sudan. Our interest is to live in peace”, said Nhial.
South Sudan’s cabinet of minister has passed a resolution to send a high-level delegation to Khartoum, headed by vice president Riek Machar.
The SPLM leadership has also expressed the south’s commitment to fulfill the implementation matrix of the Cooperation Agreement agreed with Sudan, which requires the leadership of the two countries to meet directly in the case of any difficulties.