Sudan and South Sudan have signed a joint defense and military cooperation agreement, the latest indication of improved relations between the two countries. The deal will allow the countries to work together on issues such as border security and countertrafficking.
South Sudanese Defence Minister Angelina Teny and Sudanese Defense Minister Ibrahim Yassin signed the deal on October 29, 2020, in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. It outlines a plan to pursue joint training, information exchanges, promotion of peace, working on disaster response and combating cross-border crimes.
“The two heads of state are the ones leading these efforts,” Teny said, referencing a 2012 agreement — never implemented — that addressed issues such as cross-border trade. “And this may be the first time a huge step like this is taking place in the implementation of the co-operation agreement between the two countries.”
After a contentious split, Sudan and South Sudan made major strides toward peace in 2020. In October, Sudanese transitional leaders traveled to Juba to sign a peace agreement with rebel groups from within Sudan. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir mediated the deal.
There also are signs of progress in resolving claims over the disputed Abyei region and demarcating the countries’ shared 2,000-kilometer border.
“The relationship between Sudan and South Sudan continues to strengthen,” Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, United Nations special envoy for the Horn of Africa, told the U.N. Security Council.
The two countries have agreed to open 10 border crossing points and cooperate on oil production, the Sudan Tribune reported.