SOUTH SUDAN PROTESTED AT DR CONGO’S ROLE OVER MACHAR’S EVACUATION

JUBA -- South Sudan has staged a diplomatic protest to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) for its alleged involvement in the evacuation of South Sudan's former Vice President Riek Machar earlier this month.

Spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mawen Makol, alleged that Congolese authorities violated South Sudan's airspace by sending helicopters into South Sudan territory to evacuate Machar without informing the Juba government.

"The flights came into our border and they were seen in South Sudan territory without our permission. Some were Congolese and some belong to the UN," Makol said.

Machar has not been seen in public since renewed clashes between forces loyal to him and government troops led by President Salva Kiir broke up in early July. He moved to Sudan's capital Khartoum on early this week to seek medical treatment.

The UN confirmed earlier this month that it evacuated Machar from a Congolese border town and then placed him under the care of the DR Congo authorities on humanitarian grounds.

Makol said South Sudan summoned the DR Congo ambassador to South Sudan to explain the circumstances under which Machar crossed into DR Congo.

"He (the ambassador) said he is going to Kinshasa to consult with the government and the UN to prepare a report about the evacuation of Machar. We are still waiting for that report," Makol said.

Machar was replaced by his former chief peace negotiator Taban Deng Gai as first vice president last month.

On another development, Sudan and South Sudan has agreed to resume talks on demarcation of their joint border in this September, Sudanese Media Center reported.

"Activities of the joint security committees between Khartoum and Juba concerning the border demarcation process will resume in September in Khartoum," South Sudan's Ambassador in Khartoum Mayan Dot was quoted as saying.

The border demarcation meetings between the two countries were scheduled to resume last June, but they had been delayed several times due to the security conditions in South Sudan.

The South Sudanese ambassador said the two sides have agreed on the timetable set to begin the implementation of the nine joint cooperation agreements between the two countries.

"The joint committees will hold similar meetings in Juba during the coming period to determine the tasks of the committee and implement their assigned commitments," Dot said.

He said South Sudan government has embarked on adopting practical and serious steps to withdraw the army forces for a distance of 10 km inside its territories in coordination with the UN.

In September 2012, Sudan and South Sudan signed a cooperation deal, including nine agreements on outstanding issues between the two countries, in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa under the patronage of the African Union.

The deal included a package of understandings related to security, citizens status, border and economic issues and others related to oil and trade.

However, the signed agreements did not tackle the issues of Abyei and border demarcation.

The border issue constitutes one of the biggest barriers hampering the settlement of differences between Sudan and South Sudan, which involves disputes over five border areas, including Abyei, Dabatal-Fakhar, Jabel Al-Migainis, Samaha and Kafia Kanji.

Source: Nam News Network

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