Sudanese Presidents to Meet In Khartoum

Sudanese Presidents
Sudanese Presidents Salva Kiir and Omar Bashir

AFRICANGLOBE – High-level talks between South Sudan and Sudanese leaders are expected to take place in Khartoum in late August, a government official in Juba said.

South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin confirmed South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is expected to meet his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, during a state visit later this month.

“I believe that the planned visit makes it clear that the government of the Republic of South Sudan under the leadership of President Salva Kiir wants not just a strong, normal, but special relationship with Sudan,” he said Thursday in an interview.

Both sides have been unable to make progress on various peace initiatives meant to resolve outstanding issues left over from the 2005 peace agreement ending Sudan’s civil war. The peace deal ensured South Sudan’s independence in 2011, though border skirmishes, ethnic fighting and disputes over oil have threatened the fragile peace.

The foreign minister, South Sudan’s former government spokesman, said the meeting could mark a new step in bilateral affairs.

“We need to support the two leaders resolve issues of contention amicably, through the use of such mechanisms,” he said.

Kiir fired his entire Cabinet last month. When serving as the government’s spokesman, Benjamin said the shakeup was long overdue.