Sudan and South Sudan get friendlier

Government officials from Sudan and South Sudan met in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and resolved a few issues between them. They will now allow citizens of both countries to travel between the two. People from either country can live, work, and own land or a home in both the countries.
Sudan is a big country, but it used to be even bigger. Last year in July, part of Sudan became a separate country called South Sudan, creating the newest country in the world. As the name describes, South Sudan is what used to be the southern part of Sudan, and the remainder is still called Sudan.

Until the split, Sudan was the biggest country in Africa, and was almost ten times the size of the United Kingdom. Sudan got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1956. In its 56 years of freedom, it has had only 12 years without any war. The majority of people in the northern part of Sudan have Arab origin and are of the Islamic faith. The people in the southern part are mainly black Africans, many of whom follow Christianity. Also, the southern part of Sudan (now called South Sudan) has a large percentage of Sudan’s oil, bringing money to the country. However, the government of Sudan was dominated by the people from the northern part of Sudan, and more money was invested by the government in improving living standards in the northern part as compared to the southern part. People in the southern part of the country felt they were not being treated fairly. In fact, over 70% of people in the southern part couldn’t read and write because of lack of schools. People in southern Sudan voted for the creation of South Sudan, which the government of Sudan was unhappy about.

There is still an ongoing dispute between South Sudan and Sudan about the exact border between the two. South Sudan is rich in oil, which it digs up and sends to Sudan. Sudan has the refineries where the crude oil is cleaned up and turned into fuel for cars, kerosene, diesel, and more. It is then sent via pipelines to other countries. This brings money to both the countries. The two countries could not agree on a price that Sudan should charge South Sudan for using its refineries and pipelines. In January, South Sudan stopped pumping out its oil to Sudan. This has financially hurt both the countries. A resolution is still needed between the two on this front.

Hollywood actor George Clooney has been involved in bringing global awareness to issues of South Sudan. He was recently arrested for a few hours in Washington DC, USA while he was taking part in a demonstration in front of Sundan’s embassy. He didn’t leave when the police asked him to.

South Sudan’s capital is Juba, and its currency is called the South Sudanese pound. The president of the country is Salva Kiir Mayardit. Sudan’s capital is Khartoum, and its currency is called the Sudanese pound. Omar al-Bashir is the president of the country. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of having committed crimes against people in Sudan.

 

Did you know?

The Meroe Pyramids are a landmark of Sudan. They were built around 2000 years ago and are located in north-east Sudan in the ancient city of Meroe. There are more than 200 pyramids.
Image Credits: Efloch for George Clooney’s image, Unesco.org for Meroe Pyramids image