S/Sudan urges Sudan to stop at­tacks by armed groups

Daily Trust - - AFRICA -

South Sudan has urged Sudan to pre­vent armed groupsin­clud­ing rebels loyal to for­mer vice pres­i­dent Riek Machar- from us­ing its ter­ri­tory to launch at­tacks against the world’s new­est na­tion, ac­cord­ing to Barn­aba Mariel Ben­jamin, South Sudan’s for­eign min­is­ter.

Ben­jamin says on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween South Sudan Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir and Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar Has­san Al-Bashir will pre­vent the “en­e­mies of peace and re­gional sta­bil­ity” from un­der­min­ing the warm­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween Juba and Khar­toum.

“The govern­ment of the Repub­lic of South Sudan is com­mit­ted ab­so­lutely to a co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, which ac­tu­ally forms the ba­sis for im­prov­ing re­la­tions be­tween Sudan and South Sudan,” said Ben­jamin.

“This agree­ment is very im­por­tant be­cause it guar­an­tees the fu­ture of peace be­tween the two coun­tries,” said Ben­jamin. “There­fore, any moves that un­der­mine this agree­ment is ac­tu­ally spoil­ing re­la­tions and mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for the neigh­bors to move for­ward. This is why we [tell] the Repub­lic of Sudan that al­low­ing some of these Jan­jaweed and oth­ers to come into Unity State and cause havoc is un­ac­cept­able.”

His com­ments come af­ter South Sudan ex­pressed con­cern that armed groups in­clud­ing the Jan­jaweed and the Messeriya cross the bor­der into South Sudan to launch at­tacks on its cit­i­zens and oil fields.

But, Sudan de­nies the al­le­ga­tion, in­sist­ing that the govern­ment in Khar­toum does not in­ter­fere in South Sudan’s in­ter­nal af­fairs.

Last week, rebels al­lied to for­mer vice pres­i­dent Machar an­nounced they had taken Ben­tiu, the cap­i­tal of South Sudan’s Unity State. Ben­jamin says the at­tacks came from people who are “en­e­mies” of re­gional co­he­sion and good neigh­bor­li­ness.

“These are the people we are ac­cus­ing of spoil­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries. The at­tacks now come from the north­ern part of our coun­try, and they come from the Repub­lic of Sudan. That is why we are urg­ing the Sudan govern­ment to be alert,” he said.

Ben­jamin says his govern­ment will keep its com­mit­ment to con­tinue im­prov­ing diplo­matic and bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with the govern­ment in Khar­toum.

“We are do­ing ev­ery­thing in our power to im­prove that re­la­tion­ship. But, [it does not au­gur] al­low­ing the Jan­jaweed and eth­nic groups like the Messeriya, people well trained and well-armed, to come and at­tack our oil fields [and mas­sacre cit­i­zens] in Unity State like what they did in Ben­tiu,” said Ben­jamin.

“We are urg­ing Sudan to check its side of the bor­der in or­der to make sure that no hos­tile el­e­ments are al­lowed to come into South Sudan to cause havoc,” he said.

Ben­jamin how­ever says South Sudan has yet to of­fi­cially pe­ti­tion Sudan to com­plain about the cross bor­der at­tacks that he says come from its north­ern neighbor.

South Sudan’s For­eign Min­is­ter Barn­aba Mar­ial Ben­jamin speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence with In­te­rior min­is­ter Aleu Ayienyi Aleu (L), in Juba, South Sudan.

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