South Sudan President Visits China for Talks

Posted April 24th, 2012 at 2:40 am (UTC-5)
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South Sudan's president is visiting Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders, while the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold a closed-door session on the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir is due to meet Tuesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao. During his visit he will also open a new embassy for South Sudan in China.

The U.S., China, and other world powers have called on Sudan and South Sudan to stop fighting and resume peace talks.

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.”

Mr. Bashir made the comments to soldiers during a visit to the oil-producing area of Heglig, which the Sudanese army regained from southern forces on Friday.

Officials and witnesses in South Sudan said Sudanese warplanes bombed inside the South's Unity state on Monday, killing at least three people, including one boy. The bombs struck in and around the border town of Bentiu.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Sudanese bombings and called on the government in Khartoum to cease all hostilities immediately.

The United States also condemned what it termed Sudan's “military incursion.” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. recognizes the South's right to self-defense, but urged Juba to “exercise restraint” in its response to the bombardments.

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 says it made an orderly and voluntary pullout from Heglig, following international pressure to withdraw. Sudan says it retook the area by force.

The two countries have been unable to resolve disputes over borders, oil and citizenship stemming from the south's independence last July.

The Sudan and South Sudan previously fought a 21-year civil war that killed more than 2 million people. The war ended with a 2005 peace agreement that included an independence referendum for the South.