South Sudan Accuses Sudan of New Air Attacks

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 9:10 pm (UTC-5)
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South Sudan has accused Sudan of launching more air strikes against its territory to undermine international mediation efforts.

Government officials in Juba said Sudanese warplanes bombed Northern Bahr el Ghazal state on Monday and Tuesday. The allegations could not be independently confirmed and there was no response from Sudan.

Military spokesman Phillip Aguer said Khartoum has developed a pattern of striking when mediation efforts are under way.

“For our observation, it is a habit of Khartoum whenever there is an international mediation activity, they attack so they will spoil any environment for diplomacy.”

Former South African president and African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki said Tuesday that he expected Sudan and South Sudan to resume talks to settle key disputes next week.

The talks broke off last month after the two sides clashed over the oil-rich Heglig region along the border. Both countries claim the area. Mr. Mbeki traveled to the region to urge a cessation of hostilities and return to the negotiating table.

South Sudan's information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Tuesday said Sudan is trying to sabotage the AU mediator's work.

“Sudan government is taking it (AU) for a ride all this time. Why would they be bombing when the special representative of the African Union is now in the south trying to arrange for the two countries to have peace talks?”

He described the bombings as a “slap in the face” of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union.

The two countries must still resolve questions about border demarcation, oil revenues and citizenship.

The U.N. has called on both sides to bridge their differences through peaceful negotiations.

The two countries formally split in July, when South Sudan declared independence from the north.