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12.04.2012 Sudan

Norway concerned over renewed clashes between Sudan and South Sudan

By Norway - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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OSLO, Norway, April 12, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Norway concerned over renewed clashes between Sudan and South Sudan

“We are concerned by new reports of serious military clashes in the border areas between Sudan and South Sudan. It is vital that the two states respect each other's sovereignty,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Over the last few days there have been reports of renewed military clashes between Sudan and South Sudan. During the past week Sudan has bombed targets near the oil fields in South Sudan. South Sudan has taken control of the Heglig area, where Sudan's strategically important oil production is located. The situation on the ground is unclear and the reports are to a certain extent contradictory.

“We urge both parties to pull back their troops to where they were positioned before the recent escalation. We also urge them to immediately remove the last obstacles that are preventing the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission from coming into operation, as they have previously agreed,” said Mr Støre.

In Norway's view it is essential that the postponed summit between the two countries' presidents takes place as soon as possible.

Negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan on outstanding issues following South Sudan's independence on 9 July last year are underway in Addis Ababa, led by the African Union and former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. Norway supports these efforts, for example by making Norwegian oil expertise available to the AU High Level Implementation Panel.

“Norway urges both parties to resolve all issues relating to their common border and to negotiate a final agreement on all outstanding issues so that they can direct their energy towards building two viable states,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås.

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