06 April 2014, Khartoum — South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir concluded a one-day visit to Khartoum on Saturday during which he discussed with his Sudanese counterpart Omer Hassan Al-Bashir bilateral relations and security issues.
The two presidents afterwards announced that they agreed to develop joint mechanisms to reactivate the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed between the two countries in 2012.
An official source told Sudan Tribune that Kiir asked for Khartoum’s support through tightening control along the borderline between the two countries, adding that both sides also discussed ways for protecting oilfields against potential attacks by South Sudan rebels.
The same source also said Juba asked Khartoum to back its stances within the East African regional block IGAD with regard to participation of the seven detained SPLM leaders in the negotiations between the government and the rebels.
South Sudan’s deadly conflict erupted last December after clashes broke out between rival factions of the presidential guards in Juba when the president ordered the disarmament of Nuer soldiers in the guards division, triggering the subsequent violence.
Kiir, however, said he was responding to an alleged coup plot by his former long-time deputy Riek Machar, but the latter accused Kiir of instigating the violence in order to get rid of his political opponents within the ruling party.
Machar has maintained that he was forced into “armed resistance”, accusing president Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies” and calling on him to step down.
Over 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and nearly a million displaced since violence erupted, according to UN estimates.
While Machar escaped from Juba with former Unity state governor Taban Deng Gai, when the fighting began, 11 senior SPLM members were arrested and accused of being behind an alleged coup attempt in the country.
After international pressure and a ceasefire deal signed on January 23rd, Juba released seven of the detainees but kept four, including the SPLM’s former secretary general Pagan Amum in custody.