President of Southern Sudan, Abel Alier, said on Tuesday (28 October) that he was "well satisfied" with the "considerable" development in the region since the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed in 1972.
CU Abel Alier speaking to reporter
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: SEQ 1: "Are you interested in having contacts with the East African community?"
MR.ALIER: "It all depends on what they have as a developing region, I do not think they have much to offer us at the moment. We all look to the bigger markets of Europe, and although we have got agreements for economic co-operation, border trade, we find very little that is worth considering on the international level."
REPORTER: "These trade agreements are rather one-sided as far as East Africa is concerned."
MR.ALIER: "Well only that East Africa is offering not very much to the international market, we wanted cement, for instance, and we couldn't get it in East Africa. We had to go to Japan. Finished industrial goods are brought from the West and the East of Europe so really if we went to East Africa to get these things we might as well and should have got them from Europe straight away. But for the future, and there is need for economic and commercial co-operation."
REPORTER: "Are you satisfied with the situation in the south of Sudan since the agreement was signed?"
MR. ALIER: "I think I am, yes. and somebody who and seen the south of sudan before our agreement would understand what I mean. We were a shattered community, most of the areas had no people living in them, movement was very difficult even for short distances, a hundred miles from here before the agreement was not possible. We have tried to make this movement possible by improvements of road. We have not certainly done everything we wanted to do, given our limited resources and problems there. Southern sudan was not in any way developed before independence...and after independence...seventeen years after independence, it was a theatre of conflict and instability and nothing was being done at all."
ED'S NOTE: This film is serviced with parts of President Alier's news conference.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President of Southern Sudan, Abel Alier, said on Tuesday (28 October) that he was "well satisfied" with the "considerable" development in the region since the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed in 1972.
President Alier told a news conference in Juba on tuesday that despite limited resources the government had achieved much in improving the Southern region in the past three years.
The vitally important agreement led to the end of a 17-years civil war between the Sudanese government and the Anya Nya southern Sudanese rebels.
The South gained regional autonomy within a federal structure of government and dropped its claims of secession. It was granted a Regional People's Assembly with a High Executive Council, of which Mr.alier is the President. He is also the Second vice-President of Sudan.
The People's Assembly can postpone legislature passed by the central Government if it considered the bill to be against the best interests of the region. However, co-operation between both governing bodies has been excellent.
He said that before the agreement the south was a "shattered community, with most of the areas having no people in them."
"Southern Sudan was not in any developed before independence and after independence .. 17 years after independence .. it was a theatre of conflict and instability," he said.
President Alier also commented on improving economic relations with East Africa. He said that in the future there would be a need for "economic and commercial co-operation" with East Africa, but at this stage the Sudan was looking to the bigger markets of Europe.