China Calls for Calm Between Sudans

Posted April 24th, 2012 at 12:35 pm (UTC-5)
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China's leader is calling for restraint from the two Sudans, after South Sudan's President Salva Kiir said Sudan has “declared war” on his country.

Mr. Kiir made his remarks Tuesday during talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

“It comes at a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbor, Khartoum, has declared war against the Republic of South Sudan. I have undertaken this visit because of the relationship that I value with China. China is one of our economic and strategic partners.”

Chinese state television later reported Mr. Hu stated he hopes both Sudans will cease conflicts along their border and settle their issues through peaceful negotiations.

Sudan and South Sudan have been on the edge of full-scale war for weeks because of disputes over borders and oil revenue. China is a major buyer of oil from both countries.

Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, said Monday there will be no further talks and that the south only understands the language of “guns and ammunition.”

South Sudanese officials say Sudanese warplanes dropped bombs overnight in Panakwach, an area of the south's Unity State.

The White House Tuesday condemned the attacks. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States calls on both governments to agree to an immediate cease-fire and recommit to peace negotiations.

On Monday, officials and witnesses said another Sudanese air attack killed at least three people in and around the border town of Bentiu.

The deputy head of South Sudan's military intelligence, Mac Paul, accused Sudan of “continuous provocations” since the south withdrew its forces from the Heglig region in recent days.

South Sudan occupied Heglig, an oil-producing area claimed by both sides, earlier this month. The south says it made an orderly and voluntary pullout from Heglig last week, following international pressure to withdraw. Sudan says it retook the area by force.

Sudanese troops celebrated in Heglig Monday. Sudanese Major General Kamal Abdul Marouf characterized the recapture as a military victory.

“We killed and destroyed them. Their dead bodies amounted to 1200 and they also lost military vehicles, tanks, weapons and large quantities of ammunitions.”

Sudan and South Sudan previously fought a 21-year civil war that killed more than two-million people. The war ended with a 2005 peace agreement that included an independence referendum for the south.