Sudan, South Sudan sign returnees deal
13 February 2012, 11:48
Khartoum - Sudan and breakaway South Sudan on Sunday agreed to cooperate
in the transfer of more than 300 000 people to the South, the official
SUNA news agency said.
Khartoum's Social Welfare Minister, Amira
al-Fadel Mohamed, signed a memorandum of understanding on the issue with
South Sudan's Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Joseph Lual Achwel, SUNA
The agreement covers road, air and river transport, it added.
to 700 000 ethnic southerners are estimated to still be in Sudan ahead
of an April deadline for them either to go to the South or normalise
their status with the Khartoum authorities.
The UN's High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has said he believed most of the 700 000 wanted to go South.
than 330 000 ethnic southerners have returned since October 2010 from
the north, which fought a two-decade civil war with southerners until a
2005 peace deal led to South Sudan's independence last July.
Many of those still in the north have been stuck for months in unsanitary and crowded camps.
Even those who reach the South often end up in similar facilities as they await more permanent resettlement.
between Sudan and South Sudan could escalate if outstanding issues are
not resolved, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned.
The two nations are holding African Union-mediated talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week over disputed oil fees.
Sudan has shut down oil production after accusing Sudan, on whose
pipeline and refinery it depends to export oil, of stealing its crude.
On Friday the two sides signed a "non-aggression" treaty committing them to respect each other's territorial integrity.