الخميس, 10 مايو 2012 12:55
Afrasianet-Sudan and South Sudan faced a United Nations deadline on Wednesday to pull troops back from their disputed frontier, but Khartoum said it could not comply until there is a border agreement.
The Wednesday deadline loomed as the South alleged violation of a ceasefire in effect since May 4 along the border.
The UN's call for a pullout from the disputed frontier by Wednesday is in line with agreements for a monitored demilitarised zone made by Sudan and South Sudan around the time of the South's separation last year.
They have failed to implement those agreements, under which they were supposed to pull back 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the north-south border that was in place on January 1, 1956, when Sudan became independent.
Under a May 2 UN Security Council resolution which seeks to address "a serious threat to international peace and security", both sides are to establish a "Safe Demilitarised Border Zone" and jointly begin monitoring the frontier.
The demilitarised zone would be monitored by observers from both sides, with security and other support provided by the UN's Interim Security Force for Abyei, or UNISFA, which is based in the contested region of Abyei.
But a foreign diplomat has said the two sides "refused to let UNISFA deploy along the border".
The May 2 UN resolution says the call for a demilitarised zone and border monitoring "in no way prejudices" negotiations over disputed areas, and border demarcation.
But Sudan's foreign ministry said it already notified the UN and the African Union that it has reservations about the demand for a demilitarised zone.
"First the two states have to agree where the border is and sign an agreement. Then after that we can do the 10-kilometre withdrawal," said the ministry's spokesman Al-Obeid Meruh.
The South's army said on Wednesday it had pulled back its forces in line with the UN resolution.
However, it said it was focused more on Sudanese air strikes which it alleged hit the South's border states Monday and Tuesday in violation of the UN resolution's call to end hostilities from last Friday evening.
A border war between Sudan and South Sudan began in late March, escalating with waves of Sudanese air strikes against South Sudanese territory and the South's 10-day seizure of the Heglig oil field from Khartoum's army.
Both Khartoum and Juba pledged to seek peace after the Security Council resolution threatened sanctions if they do not comply.