The United Nations Security Council has given Sudan and South Sudan 48 hours to cease cross-border violence or face sanctions. It fears the conflict could develop into an all-out war.
The UN Security Council on Wednesday passed a resolution threatening to impose sanctions on Sudan and South Sudan if they did not cease hostilities within 48 hours.
It also ordered the two east African neighbors to start peace talks within two weeks under the mediation of the African Union. The resolution threatens "additional measures" under Article 41 of the UN Charter if either side fails to comply.
In addition, it condemns repeated cross-border violence, including the South's seizure of the oil-rich town of Heglig and Sudan's aerial bombings in the South.
Both Russia and China, which had opposed sanctions during negotiations, voted in favor of the resolution.
The move follows weeks of border fighting amid a string of disputes between Khartoum and Juba. The violence threatens to evolve into a full-blown conflict.
Sudanand South Sudan separated in July last year after many decades of civil war. However, tensions have been growing since then, with no clear agreement in place regarding border demarcation or how to share revenue from oil reserves that straddle the two sides.
Oilfield back in operation
Meanwhile, Sudan announced on Wednesday that the Heglig oilfield has been repaired and has begun pumping oil.
The oilfield near the border between the two countries was the scene of intense fighting with South Sudan last month, after the South seized the contested area. It withdrew after ten days amid widespread international condemnation.
The oilfield is vital to Sudan's economy, producing almost half of the country's output of 115,000 barrels per day. Sudan lost three-quarters of its output when South Sudan gained its independence.
However, Sudan retains the necessary infrastructure for transporting oil from landlocked South Sudan to the sea. Among other things, the two countries are at odds about how much the South should pay to transport its crude through the north.
In January, Juba shut down its entire output of 350,000 bpd to stop Khartoum taking some oil to pay what it called unpaid transit fees.
In ongoing violence, South Sudan said it killed 27 Sudanese army soldiers in a clash in Unity state on Tuesday.
tj/mz (Reuters, AFP)