South Sudan to shut borders with the north: official
The Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) will close its borders with its northern neighbor starting next December, an official in Juba said today.
Atem Garang, a leading figure in the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the move was in retaliation to the blockade he alleged was imposed by Khartoum.
The decision will impact herders and livestock who move along the borders for grazing purposes, Garang said.
In recent months, officials in Juba accused Khartoum of sealing the borders and preventing the flow of goods which has led to food shortages and price hikes particularly in border states.
The statements come in sharp contrast with those made by RoSS president Salva Kiir at the United Nations General Assembly this week in which he urged Sudan to work for resolution of all pending issues particularly border demarcation so that normalization of ties can be achieved.
South Sudan officially seceded from the North in early July after Southerners voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new state in a referendum held last January.
But a number of contentious post-secession issues such as oil, national debt, Abyei and borders have yet to be sorted out.
Last weekend, the two neighbors signed an agreement by which 10 border crossings would be opened. It was brokered by the chairman of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki.