South Sudan offers mediation in Political Transition in Sudan

Abdul Fattah al-Burhan received a letter from South Sudan
Abdul Fattah al-Burhan received a letter from South Sudan

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has offered to help mediate a political transition in Sudan after the fall of autocratic president Omar al-Bashir to weeks of popular protests, Kiir's office said on Wednesday.

His move came seven months after Bashir helped mediate a shakypeace deal between Kiir and the main opposition rebel group in South Sudan,which won independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of conflict.

Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup, was himself toppledlast week by the military, which has vowed free elections within two years,though protesters remain in the streets, demanding an immediate handover to aninterim civilian authority.

Kiir said he was ready to support the "democraticaspirations" of his former adversary in Khartoum and help bring about apeaceful transition.

"The president has offered to mediate the ongoingnegotiations among various groups in Sudan with the hope that the newtransition will usher in a new day in Sudan…," a statement by Kiir'soffice said.

South Sudan's petroleum minister told Reuters he had travelledto Khartoum to meet the new leadership, alongside a high-level delegation thatincluded Juba's security service chief and a presidential adviser on security.

Sudan's south won statehood after almost half a century of civilwar, marked by the mass abduction and enslavement of children, scorched earthtactics, ethnic cleansing and famines.

The loss of South Sudan cost Sudan much of its oil reserves, aheavy economic blow to the widely impoverished country.

While the divorce was acrimonious, the two countries remainclosely tied.

"Juba is clearly concerned about its vested interests inSudan. Despite being old foes, the two regimes have grown tightlyenmeshed," said Alan Boswell, a senior analyst with Brussels-based thinktank International Crisis Group.

"Sudan needs South Sudan's oil flows, and South Sudan'spolitical deals often run through Khartoum." 

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