South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar on Sunday urged full implementation of the 2012 cooperation agreement signed with Sudan in order to boost trade and allow free movement of people between the two countries.
Machar disclosed that the agreement signed in September 2012 grants South Sudanese and Sudanese the right to own property, free movement, residence and employment in both countries.
“We want the four freedoms agreed upon with Sudan in 2012 to be revitalized, the agreement on four freedoms are the freedom of residence, freedom of movement, freedom of employment, freedom of ownership and acquisition of property,” Machar said during the opening ceremony of the Sudan-South Sudan trade expo in Juba.
The week-long trade expo will run until Jan. 15. The cooperation agreement signed during the administration of former Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir in Addis Ababa also includes oil fees, security and border demarcation. Machar said that the goods from Sudan are smuggled into South Sudan, adding that there is a need to use the buffer zones as free trade areas for the benefit of the two countries.
“We want border buffer zones such as Joda, Heglig and Merem to be for free trade, to avoid smuggling, we must open the border. We want borders to open as soon as possible, we want all 10 border points be it road, rail or river transport to open,” he said.
Machar disclosed that the established security-political committee comprising officials from the two countries has been meeting over the past two months to resolve border issues.
He added that opening the border between the two countries will boost trade, in addition to strengthening and diversifying the economies of both countries.
“While Sudan and South Sudan are embarking on a peaceful path, it is important to bring along sustainable development through investment and economic activities,” he said.
Mohamed Hamdan Daglu, deputy chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council said that improved relations between the two countries will help spur trade and accelerate business investments.”We need to build good relations and improve (business) investment in the two countries, we propose open borders with reduced custom duties,” said Daglu.