Juba, South Sudan, 4 Jumadil Akhir 1434/13 April 2013 (MINA) – Sudan and South Sudan will normalise ties and start cross-border cooperation, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said on Friday (12/4) in Juba.

     Bashir’s comment has issued  during his first visit to South Sudan since July 2011 when the south seceded and became an independent state.

     “This visit shows the start of cooperation based on a normalisation of relations between the two countries,” Bashir said in a speech in the capital, Juba, according to Al Jazeera reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

     South Sudan’s Salva Kiir said he had agreed with Bashir to continue a dialogue to solve all outstanding conflicts between the African neighbours. “Some issues need more discussions,” Kiir said, adding that he had accepted an invitation from Bashir to visit Sudan soon, his second trip since the secession.

     The media reported Bashir was received at Juba airport by Kiir, his former civil war foe and an ex-opposition commander.

     A military band played the national anthems of the two countries as the two heads of state greeted South Sudanese ministers assembled to welcome Bashir.

     The two nations agreed in March to resume cross-border oil flows and take steps to defuse tension that has plagued them since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 following a treaty which ended decades of civil war. They still have not agreed who owns Abyei province and other regions along their disputed 2,000km border.

     Kiir said the two leaders would continue discussions on region. Bashir had planned to visit Juba a year ago but cancelled the trip when fighting erupted along the border and almost flared into full-scale war.

     Speaking alongside Kiir, Bashir said he had ordered Sudan’s borders with South Sudan to be opened for traffic. “I have instructed Sudan’s authorities and civil society to open up to their brothers in the Republic of South Sudan,” he said. (T/P09/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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