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Bashir & Kiir to witness first shipment of oil from Port Sudan: official

May 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The chairman of Sudan’s parliamentary subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and National Security Mohammed Al-Hassan al-Amin, announced that that presidents Omer Hassan al-Bashir and Salva Kiir will witness launching the export of South Sudan’s first oil shipment through Port Sudan within the coming few days.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (C) meets his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir (L) upon his arrival at the Juba Airport in South Sudan April 12, 2013. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

In September of last year, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among others.

Last March, the two countries signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements.

The most notable provision in the agreement is related to resumption of oil exports by landlocked South Sudan which were suspended more than a year ago because of a dispute over transit fees.

The oil flow is expected to breathe life into the beleaguered economies of the two countries which were heavily dependent on oil remittances to pay for imports of basic commodities.

Al-Amin, who spoke at a press conference upon his return from Juba yesterday, said that the visit revealed a significant change in South Sudan’s stances towards Sudan,

He explained that senior officials in Juba have condemned the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) recent attack on Um Rawaba and called for a peaceful solution to all conflicts while distancing themselves from SRF and considering the problem an “Internal Sudanese issue”.

The Sudanese official went on to say that their meeting with Kiir was “a good omen”, saying that they stressed Sudan’s keenness to maintain good relations with South Sudan.

According to Al-Amin, Kiir has welcomed the visit and described it as “historic”, promising to visit Sudan in the near future.

Al-Amin pointed out that the meeting underscored the need to ease media campaigns between the two countries and to seek a joint solution to Sudan’s debts.

Last month president Bashir paid a historic first visit to South Sudan, fueling hopes of peace and cooperation between the two countries, after a tense year that has brought them to the brink of war over oil rights and territorial claims.

During the one-day visit, Bashir held talks with Kiir that focused on the implementation of agreements the two countries signed last year.