Gen. Salva Kiir: Sudan Has Declared War
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir says Sudan has "declared war" on his country, following weeks of fighting along their common border, BBC report.
Mr Kiir was speaking in China, which is a major buyer of oil from both countries but has long been an ally of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.
Kiir’s statement comes hardly 12 hours after Bashir gave his army a green light to use “the language of the gun” against neighboring South Sudan in retaliation of the latter’s occupation of Heglig disputed region two weeks ago.
“I direct the army to restore [our] rights and repulse any aggression from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] of the south on any inch of the country and at any time” Sudan Tribune quotes Bashir’s address to dozens of ululating Sudanese troops at the station of Martyr Al-Fadil in Heglig on Monday.
Heglig was occupied almost two weeks ago by the SPLA before being liberated on Friday by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), according to Khartoum, whereas Juba said it voluntarily withdrew troops in response to international pressure.
On Monday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned Sudan for bombing a border town in the South.
South Sudan became independent last year, following decades of conflict.
There have been tense relations since then, primarily over the division of oil reserves and the full definition of borders.
Mr Kiir was speaking as he met Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Beijing, after arriving there on Monday for a five-day visit.
Al-Bashir, who arrived in Heglig unannounced to inspect the damage Khartoum accused Juba of inflicting on the town’s oil facilities, reiterated that there will be no return to talking with South Sudan unless its ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is gone.
"One of us has to go" he said before adding that our “dialogue with these people will be through the gun because they only understand the language of the gun,” thundered Bashir.
On his part, Mr Kiir said his visit came "at a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbour in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan".
He called China one of his country's "economic and strategic partners".
Beijing has urged an end to the recent hostilities, during which Southern forces occupied Sudan's most important oil field, in the Heglig area, saying it belonged to the South.
South Sudan says its forces withdrew from Heglig after two weeks, but Sudan says it expelled them, killing 1,000 soldiers.
Mr Bashir says he will not negotiate with the South and has vowed to continue military action until all Southern troops and their allies are out of Sudan.
On Monday, Mr Ban called on Mr Bashir and Mr Kiir "to stop the slide toward further confrontation and... to return to dialogue as a matter of urgency".
US President Barack Obama has said both countries "must have the courage" to return to the negotiating table and resolve their differences peacefully.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Tuesday that oil was "the economic lifeline for both countries".
He added: "To maintain the stability and sustainability of the oil cooperation is consistent with the fundamental interests of both countries. It is also consistent with the interests of Chinese enterprises and their partners."
In January, South Sudan shut down oil production, which provides 98% of its revenue, after Khartoum impounded South Sudanese oil shipments amid a dispute over transit fees.
South Sudan took most of the former united Sudan's oil reserves when it became independent but relies on pipelines to seaports in Sudan to export it.
South Sudan voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in a July 2011 referendum.
The fighting around Heglig, which contains oilfields accounting for almost half of Sudan’s daily output of 115,000 barrels, sparked fears of a full-scale war between the two neighbors as well as heightened war rhetoric, especially on the part of Khartoum.
The Sudanese president renewed threats against Juba as his air forces bombed three areas in South Sudan’s Unity State on Monday, killing three people.
Bashir, dressed in military uniform, further said he had ordered the army to "purge" Sudan’s borders from rebels.
His statement coincides with reports that Sudanese forces clashed on Monday with rebels of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) which fights in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states on the borders with South Sudan.
Al-Bashir promised to teach South Sudan a "final lesson" and award them a "doctorate in treachery, perfidy and cowardice."
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Updated on 2013-06-04 10:39
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