Sudan talks must suceed

Thursday January 3 2013

The eastern Africa region is hoping that on Friday’s meeting between President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and his South Sudan counterpart, Mr Salva Kiir, will ensure peaceful co-existence. 

Regional leaders have been anxious that the stalemate between Sudan and South Sudan over outstanding post-referendum issues could easily spark another war. 

It is encouraging that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has taken the initiative to bring the two together.

South Sudan needs Khartoum so that it can export its oil which is the backbone of its economy, while Sudan needs to sell its products in South Sudan, its biggest market.

The two had signed a package of security and economic agreements in September, but suspicion and vested interests by both countries blocked the implementation.

For instance, neither country has withdrawn its army 10 kilometres from the border.

President al-Bashir has made the first gesture by offering to withdraw his troops 1,800 kilometres from the border to allow the establishment of a border monitoring mission. President Kiir should reciprocate.