Northern opposition party

NUP leader Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi (R) shakes hands with South Sudan President Salva Kiir (FILE-Getty Images)

South Sudan broke away from Sudan and declared independence on 9 July in line with the region’s vote on independence held at the start of this year. However, the new neighbors are already squabbling over a wide array of issues including oil shares and conflicts along shared border areas.

A delegation of the NUP led by the party’s chairman and Sudan’s former Prime Minister, Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, on Sunday visited South Sudan’s Juba and held a meeting with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and the minister of cabinet affairs, Deng Alor.

The two sides issued a joint communiqué inked by Sarah Nugud Allah on behalf of the NUP and Deng Alor on behalf of the South Sudan government.

The communiqué recounted that the meeting had tackled a number of issues, including the explosive situation along the borders, particularly in South Kordofan state, Abyei and Blue Nile State, as well as the U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan, oil shares, pastors and what it termed as the “cold war” between the two countries.

Sudan and RSS have been at loggerheads over the status of Abyei area which is claimed by both sides. Tension increased over the fighting in Sudan’s state of South Kordofan between the country’s army and rebel fighters previously aligned with South Sudan.

After a lengthy discussion, the joint communiqué said, the two sides agreed on a number of principles to contain potential crisis in Sudan given the mutually destructive nature of instability on both sides.

The two sides agreed to convene a comprehensive conference to be attended by all political forces and tackle Sudan crises as a whole. Furthermore, the two sides called for an international conference to support efforts for national reconciliation in Sudan

Also, the communiqué called for granting dual citizenship to Sudanese people in the north and the south and the establishment of a four freedom agreement between the two countries.

It is expected that this move will unnerve the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) which has always been anxious at any sign of rapprochement between northern political forces and South Sudan.

The NCP has been engaged in dialogue with the NUP over tension in the domestic political arena but the talks are yet to yield results amid reports that the NCP continues to resist offering meaningful concessions.