Neither the United Nations nor the African Union can impose its will on Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir said today, after fresh fighting along the border with South Sudan.
“We will implement what we want and, what we do not want, no one can impose upon us — neither the UN Security Council nor the African Union Peace and Security Council,” Bashir said.
He was referring to a May 2 UN Security Council resolution calling for Sudan and South Sudan to cease hostilities along their border, and resume talks to settle unresolved issues.
A South Sudanese cabinet minister said on Thursday his country was ready for talks at any time.
President Bashir’s remarks were his first about the resolution, and came a day after Sudan’s army said it had fought with South Sudan along the disputed border on Wednesday, while the South said it came under renewed Sudanese air attack, violating a four-day-old UN-imposed ceasefire.
The UN resolution also ordered Sudan and South Sudan to pull troops back from their disputed frontier, effective Wednesday May 9, but Khartoum said it could not comply until there was a border agreement.
President Bashir made his comments in an address to about 1,000 oil industry workers marking the “liberation” last month of Sudan’s main oil region of Heglig, which South Sudan occupied for 10 days in a move coinciding with waves of Sudanese air raids against the South, leading to fears of a wider war.
Khartoum’s foreign ministry has said it is committed to stopping hostilities under the UN resolution, but it also has certain reservations “which may create some difficulties in fully implementing” it.
The South’s government also pledged to seek peace after the UN threatened sanctions if both sides did not stop border fighting by last Friday evening to avert “a serious threat to international peace and security.”
On Wednesday, the army in Khartoum said it had expelled South Sudanese troops and their rebel allies from two areas, Kafindibei and Kafia Kingi, in South Darfur state across from the South’s Western Bahr el-Ghazal state.
Sudan’s foreign ministry has described Kafindibei and Kafia Kingi as disputed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Southern army spokesman Kella Kueth said Sudan had been “randomly bombarding civilian areas,” in Southern border states on Monday and Tuesday.
Sudan has repeatedly denied bombing the South. South Sudan’s army confirmed, however, that Kafindibei had been captured by Sudanese troops backed by air support on Monday.
The incident is the first confirmed violation after the cessation of hostilities took effect.
While Khartoum announced last week that it would honour the ceasefire, it accused South Sudan of continuing aggression by occupying disputed points along the border and warned that if they did not withdraw, they would be forced out in an act of self-defence. (AFP)