South Sudan and South Africa committed to working together to strengthen relations in various sectors and join forces to garner regional and global support for peace and stability in Sudan, the country from which Africa’s youngest nation seceded in 2011.
The agreement was reached during a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, amid escalated military activities and heightened tensions between Sudan’s armed forces and the paramilitary rapid support force. South Sudan’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed satisfaction with the meeting, labelling it a successful mission that underscored the two countries’ determination to enhance “mutual political relations” and “promote global security.”
“The visit of His Excellency President Salva Kiir to South Africa was a successful mission. It was a peace mission that allowed the two leaders to discuss the situation in Sudan and devise ways the continent and the international community can contribute to finding a solution. Thus, the President of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, and President Salva Kiir have agreed to mobilize joint support for peace in Sudan. They also call upon ‘all parties to the conflict’ to ‘scrupulously observe international humanitarian law’,” stated Deng Dau Deng Malek, the South Sudanese minister.
The two leaders acknowledged that the conflict in Sudan has multifaceted causes but agreed that its continuation is not advantageous to any party involved. They emphasized that a ceasefire and cessation of military activities would serve the interests of all parties and the global community. In light of the ongoing military operations, President Kiir and President Ramaphosa welcomed the concrete proposals for a political resolution to the crisis presented by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). South Africa was willing to support and play a constructive role in this process.
“The conversation was lengthy. President Cyril thanked President Kiir and noted that he expressed things more clearly. Now, we can begin working on a pathway out of the Sudan crisis,” a South Sudanese presidential source revealed.
During the meeting, President Kiir also met with Malik Agar, the Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, who was en route to Russia to engage with Russian leadership concerning the evolving situation in Sudan. President Kiir urged Agar to convey to the military leadership not to let ideologies obstruct critical thinking in Sudan.
This marked the first time President Kiir and President Ramaphosa met to discuss the conflict in Sudan since it erupted in the heart of Africa.
Since April, Sudan has been grappling with a political crisis, displacing over 100,000 South Sudanese refugees who returned home or fled to neighbouring countries.
The UN expressed concern about potential tribal conflicts arising from this migration. In response, the UN Security Council called for an end to fighting in Sudan, protection of civilians, increased humanitarian assistance to Sudan and neighbouring countries, support for humanitarian workers, and respect for international humanitarian law.
The two leaders also discussed implementing the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement, signed by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to share power and form a unity government.