South Africa, Sudan to build closer ties

2 February 2015

In an effort to enhance and elevate the structured bilateral co-operation between them, South Africa and Sudan have taken a decision to raise the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation to a ministerial level, President Jacob Zuma said in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Sunday.

The main objective of the commission will be to promote political, economic and social relations between the two sides.

In this regard, the ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been tasked to work with speed to conclude an enabling agreement, Zuma said after talks with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan and South Africa called for reinforcing economic cooperation and partnership establishment.

The two leaders reaffirmed commitment to reinforcing economic relations by encouraging both countries’ private and public enterprises to further involve themselves in establishing partnerships to become a model for South-South cooperation.

Joint ventures

“We also agreed to encourage more public and private sector companies to make joint ventures for the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples. In this regard, Mr President, we direct our relevant ministers to work tirelessly to enhance our bilateral cooperation,” Zuma said.

Already the two countries have 16 bilateral agreements in a number of fields including trade, agriculture, defence, policing, arts and culture, social development, scientific cooperation.

“We talked about many issues, including the fact that, as African countries, we must be totally independent and take our decisions about our destiny,” Zuma said.

Peace and security

The two presidents also exchanged views on matters of peace and security in the continent, paying particular focus on the on-going conflict in South Sudan.

They called on all the parties involved in the conflict in South Sudan to show leadership and responsibility to bring an end to the conflict.

“To this end, we have committed ourselves to playing our part to help resolve the crisis. The people of South Sudan need peace, security, stability and development,” Zuma said.

The two leaders also reaffirmed their support to the UN and the African Union as important institutions of consolidation for peace maintenance of regional and international security, according to the communique.

Al-Bashir described Zuma’s visit to Sudan as “fruitful”.

“We have agreed to promote cooperation, implement all previous agreements and upgrade the joint ministerial committee,” he said.