Sudan and South Sudan are required to withdraw their troops outside a buffer zone from their current positions.
The governments of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to withdraw troops from along their mutual border, establish a safe demilitarized zone there and immediately resume oil production. The United States welcomes the agreement as a positive step toward resolving the issues that remain following South Sudan’s independence in 2011.
Under the agreement, signed in Addis Ababa on March 8, both nations are required to withdraw their troops outside a buffer zone from their current positions within an agreed zone on either side of the border. A United Nations interim security force operating in the disputed border area of Abyei will monitor the pullback. The location of the buffer zone will have no bearing on any settlement of the final border line, which still must be negotiated by the two countries, along with the future political status of Abyei. Disputes over these issues threatened armed conflict last year. Tensions were further heightened by the dangerously close proximity of each nation’s troops along the border. With the agreement, those tensions should be eased.
Much progress has been made in deliberations to date between Sudan and South Sudan, but much more is at stake. The parties should now begin implementation of all nine cooperation agreements signed on September 27. Each should be implemented separately without conditions or delay.