South Sudan seceded in 2011 after a 22 year long civil war. Since then, Sudan’s border has remained shut to it as violent clashes between the two nations continued through the years.
However, Sudan’s President Omar-al-Bashir has finally ordered that his country’s border with South Sudan be opened. With over 4 million people facing severe food shortages, thousands on the brink of starvation and many horrific ethnic clashes recorded, South Sudan has been described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
The directive to open the border came on Wednesday as President Omar charged the “relevant authorities” to take “all measures required to implement this decision on the ground.” This is after President Salva Kiir, South Sudanese President asked his army units of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), to pull back about 6 miles from said border, obviously projecting a willingness to improve relationship with Sudan to foster peace and stability between the two countries.
This is coming after years of enormous strain between the two leaders which coupled post secession issues with differences over oil charges and transit fees. The new South Sudanese nation had taken up most of what made up Sudan’s oil reserves prior to the split. South Sudan however still needed Sudan’s infrastructure to access international markets and export the oil. Sudan recognizing the need, took advantage of the situation, proceeding to institute steep fees. President Omar Bashir has also agreed to consider cutting down these fees.
South Sudan has had problems within its own border; President Kiir and his former deputy Rick Machar had managed to go head to head, splitting the country down ethnic lines and leading to a deadly civil war. It is this civil war which has seen hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese people fleeing to other countries, Sudan inclusive, that makes this such a welcome news. It is hoped that the move will foster more economic, political and social collaborations, leading to stability on both sides.
See Also: Burundi; Current State Of Affairs