Mandela formed group of The Elders: the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have brought their countries closer together

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)

KHARTOUM, (Sudanow) – A group of Western and African former heads of state, politicians and religious leaders, known as the Elders, have welcomed the peace agreement Sudan and south Sudan signed in Ethiopia late last month saying it will open the doors for future safety and welfare of the two people.

Led by South Africa peace laureate winner, and religious-cum-political leader, Desmund Tutu, the group stressed in their statement  that they “welcome warmly the historic agreements” on trade, oil, border issues and the status of nationals signed by Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa on 27 September.

“Although several crucial issues remain unresolved, overall the deal holds promise for the future safety and welfare of their respective people after months of escalating tensions.” The statement received  in Khartoum said.

It pinpointed that the lives of ordinary people in both countries could be dramatically improved by these agreements, which open the door to the resumption of oil flows and trade and offer a mutual guarantee of rights of movement, property, residence and work for Sudanese and South Sudanese citizens living in the other country.

The statement said during their visits to Khartoum in May and Juba in July, The Elders called on President Omar al-Bashir, of Sudan, and President Salva Kiir, of South Sudan, to put the well-being of their people first.

“The fates of Sudan and South Sudan are intertwined. One can’t prosper without the other. In recent times, the people of both countries have faced needless hardship” the statement quoted  Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, as saying, adding that “The reason was a lack of trust between these people’s leaders. These agreements go a very long way to building this trust, and we pray the people will start to see the benefits as soon as possible.”

Former US president Jimmy Carter was quoted by the release as saying that “President al-Bashir and President Kiir displayed real statesmanship by overcoming their differences and reaching compromises.

“We hope the outstanding differences between their governments can now be addressed urgently and with equal resolve, for the sake of the people of Sudan and South Sudan.”Carter said.

The Elders further welcome a key aspect of the deal: the establishment of a 10-kilometre demilitarised zone between Sudan and South Sudan. If fully implemented, this buffer zone will go a long way towards reassuring both sides that their security will be assured. The African Union (AU), supported by the international community as a whole, must ensure that the provisions for this buffer zone are effectively implemented and monitored.

The statement said the Elders congratulate Presidents Kiir and al-Bashir on their bold commitment to peace. They also commend former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the AUHIP for their skill and persistence in helping to reach this positive outcome.

The group also paid tribute to the efforts of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and thank his successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, for their roles in facilitating these talks.

“The Elders hope that the leaders of the two countries will build on this momentum to address, in particular, the demarcation of the borders and the status of the disputed oil-rich area of Abyei. “The statement said.

It quoted the group as saying that they also emphasise the urgent need for the conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to be resolved in the Sudanese states of South Kordufan and Blue Nile.

The Elders was launched by Nelson Mandela, and it brings together Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu (Chair). Nelson Mandela is an honorary Elder



Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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