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US Condemns Latest Sudan Border Clashes

The United States has strongly condemned renewed military violence between Sudan and South Sudan and called on both sides to end the air strikes and attacks on the ground.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday told reporters that the U.S. is "greatly alarmed" by the renewed fighting, especially along the border area. She said the area is a flashpoint that could become even more dangerous if the violence continues.

Earlier Tuesday South Sudan accused Sudan of launching a second day of airstrikes on oil-rich territory along their disputed border. The two nations first engaged in the rare direct military confrontation on Monday.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said the north's air force bombed two areas in the south's Unity state. After the bombing he says South Sudanese forces were attacked by Sudanese armed forces and the militia, but were able to repel them.

South Sudan Minister of Information Barnaba Benjamin earlier quoted the president as saying the south would not be dragged into a senseless war with Sudan.

Officials from Sudan's foreign ministry said actions taken by the Sudanese army were in response to an earlier heavy weapons attack by southern forces.

The violence comes a day after both sides accused the other's soldiers of crossing the tense, poorly marked border separating the two countries. Both sides claimed they were acting in self-defense and declared victory following the fighting. Casualty figures are not known.

After the clashes on Monday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced he was suspending an April 3 summit with South Sudan's President Kiir that had been scheduled to discuss disputes about the border and oil revenues.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is "deeply concerned" about the clashes, and urged both sides to "peacefully address their differences." Moon also urged Kiir and Bashir to continue with the proposed April talks.

South Sudan said the fighting began Monday when Khartoum carried out a ground attack and a series of intense aerial bombardments in Unity state.

Khartoum countered by blaming the south for attacking its position in the oil-rich border region of Heglig, which is claimed by both countries.

The United Nations refugee agency expressed concern for the safety of some 16,000 Sudanese refugees that recently fled the Nuba Mountains to South Sudan's Yida settlement.

A spokeswoman says the area is not safe due to its proximity to the volatile border area.

Since South Sudan's independence in July, the two neighbors have not been able to agree on the demarcation of their 1,800 kilometer border or how much South Sudan should pay to export oil through Sudan.

The south took over most Sudanese oil production, but is refusing to pay what it considers excessive transit fees to use northern pipelines.  The landlocked south needs the pipelines to send the oil to international markets.

The dispute prompted South Sudan to shut down all oil production, a move analysts say is likely to hurt both countries financially.

The sides are also in disagreement over the status of southerners living in the north, and regularly accuse each other of supporting the other's rebel groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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Comments
     
by: SAMUEL BANDAS
April 11, 2012 4:55 AM
The lates crisis between south sudan and Sudan will change the future of both Two countries for the peace that they have wark hard for.let face the truth and look at the root coast of the problem, since the separation of south sudan from sudan president Bashir started lounching attact and even before that, so he is really not for peace,for the seek of keeping peace for both two countries is better the ICC to handle him, Because peoples from both side are youning for peace.

by: Muoranyar
April 04, 2012 9:18 AM
Not an inch of our land will be taken by the North, willy nilly. All the naysayers can continue their doom prediction. But under no circumstances can there be compromise on our legal titles and possessory rights. All that said, history is on our side.

by: Thicked off
March 27, 2012 7:14 PM
South Sudan leadership is not ready to receive the new country and administer it properly. I think, the UNSC made a terrible mistake as far as helping them split to be independent. Shutting the oil well was a dumb move, and now igniting a conflict? The two leaders were scheduled to meet next week, they just blew up the chance to work through their differences. I am sorry to say this but South Sudanese need to change this aggressive leadership to peace oriented clever ones.

by: Robert S. Stewart
March 27, 2012 9:19 AM
South Sudan just opened the floodgates for more cemeteries, the best business in town. This country is doomed under its present lack of orderly leadership. The fighting will continue. South Sudan will remain the beacon to the world in showing off the spoils of ethnic rivalries, genocide, corruption, killing neighbors, settling conflicts through war, theft of cattle, women and children, violence and a total disregard for the advancement of humankind.

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