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US Warns Of Renewed Sudan-South Sudan Conflict Over Border Issues
258 days ago
(RTTNews) - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has warned that Sudan's continued refusal to accept a map demarcating the border with South Sudan may lead to fresh border clashes between the two neighboring nations.
Speaking to reporters after a closed U.N. Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Thursday, Rice said Sudan's continued failure to accept a border roadmap proposed by the African Union "risks the resumption of outright conflict" between the two countries.
Stating that Sudan's refusal to sign the AU-proposed roadmap "calls into question Khartoum's seriousness" to resolve the issue, she said Khartoum's stand prevented the establishment of a demilitarized zone between the two countries for averting future border clashes.
Rice said the United States remained "deeply concerned by the apparent lack of urgency" shown by both sides in resolving their differences on several outstanding issues, including the demarcation of their shared border.
South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in July 2010 after it voted overwhelmingly in favor of separation from the North in a referendum. The January 2010 referendum was in line with a 2005 peace agreement that ended 22 years of civil war between the Arab North and the Christian and animist South.
South Sudan gained control of nearly 75 percent of Sudan's oil production when it declared independence. The two nations are yet to resolve several outstanding post-secession issues, including borders, and ownership of oil-rich Abyei region. Incidentally, both countries are heavily dependent on oil revenues.
Tensions between the two neighbors escalated in April 2012 after South Sudanese forces moved into the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan's South Kordofan state before eventually departing. The Sudanese forces responded to the South's aggression by bombing South Sudanese territory.
Subsequently, the UNSC noted in a unanimously adopted resolution in early May that the situation along the Sudan-South Sudan border constituted "a serious threat to international peace and security." The UNSC also called on the two countries to immediately end hostilities and resume negotiations, and voiced its intention to take "appropriate measures" if the parties did not comply.
Although the border conflict had stalled talks between the two for resolving outstanding issues triggered by South Sudan gaining independence, the negotiations resumed in late May in Addis Ababa after the UNSC warning. The talks were held under the auspices of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, and were aimed at resolving disputes related to sharing of oil wealth as well as border issues.
As a result of the AU-mediated talks, Sudan and South Sudan reached an agreement on oil transport fees early last month. Subsequently, the UNSC extended its deadline for resolving the outstanding issues between the two nations, including demarcation of borders, to September 22 from the earlier set August 2. Incidentally, the two nations resumed their talks aimed at resolving outstanding issues in Ethiopia on Tuesday.
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