Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday decided to reopen the border with South Sudan and resume border trade between the two countries.
“We declare the opening of the border between the two countries to facilitate the movement of citizens and trade,” said al-Bashir while addressing a session of the peace talks between South Sudan’s government and the rebel movement that kicked off on Monday.
“We are one people in two countries and the citizens of South Sudan are brothers who are suffering from exceptional circumstances and they will be treated by us in an exceptional way,” added al-Bashir.
He urged the South Sudan’s leaders to put the interests of the South Sudanese citizens on top of their agenda to end the armed conflict there.
The border between Sudan and South Sudan had remained closed from July 2011, when South Sudan separated from Sudan, to January 2016, when al-Bashir decided to reopen the border between the two countries.
However, on Sept. 6, 2017, Sudan decided again to close its border with South Sudan, Chad and Libya, in a move to prevent smuggling of arms through its borders with the three countries.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the opposition leader Riek Machar started a new round of peace talks on Monday in Khartoum, under patronage of al-Bashir, in renewed efforts to peacefully settle the conflict in their country.
On June 21, the Inter-Government Authority on Development in Africa said in the final communique of its meeting in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, that the rivaling South Sudanese parties would hold a round of talks in Khartoum on issues including governance, security arrangements and rehabilitation of South Sudan economy through bilateral cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan.
South Sudan has suffered from a civil war since December 2013 between the forces loyal to Mayardit and his former vice president Machar.