[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
After two decades of war that cut off Sudan’s national capital, Khartoum, from Juba, the capital of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, the two are now connected by road, according to news reports published in local media, submitted by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to iSeek.
Vehicles could now travel from Khartoum to Juba, separated by thousands of kilometers, through Bahr el Ghazal region. The two cities were cut off from each other following several years of conflict between the North and South that ended in January 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Sudan is the World Food Programme's (WFP) largest operation in the world. In 2008, the UN agency expects to provide food assistance to 5.6 million vulnerable people affected by conflict, targeting about 1.4 million people in South Sudan only.
The opening up of roads connecting the two capitals is one of the biggest achievements scored by the three-year old Government of Southern Sudan after the signing of the CPA, said the Minister for Roads and Transport, David Deng Athorbei, last Friday, at a Council of Ministers meeting chaired by the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Road transport between the two capitals will significantly cut high transport cost as travellers now have the option of using other cheaper means aside from air transport, which costs $200.00 per one-way trip, between Juba and Khartoum.
Mr. Athorbei said it also takes only about ten hours to travel by car between Khartoum and Bentiu, Unity state.
River transport in the South is also available from Juba to Kosti by ship or boat, but usually takes a tiresome journey of more than a week, before proceeding to Khartoum by land, which takes another four hours.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Gabriel Changson Chang, told journalists after the meeting that the Council also approved a road construction project worth $400 million dollars to construct a number of additional major roads connecting states, and with neighboring countries.
The Ministry of Roads and Transport, Mr. Chang further explained, has other additional road projects to connect Southern Sudan and Ethiopia through Upper Nile, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states. It also plans to tar the existing roads connecting Juba to Uganda and Kenya.
The Ministry of Roads and transport is one of the Government’s biggest spending institutions after security followed by education. It is seen by the Government as key to service delivery to the people and promotion of trade and investment in the region.
The UN Security Council established the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with its unanimous adoption of Resolution 1590 (S/RES/1590) on 24 March 2005. UNMIS is tasked with supporting the implementation of the CPA and facilitating the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons; providing demining assistance; and contributing towards international efforts to protect and promote human rights in Sudan.
Previously on DeleGATE