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Norway calls on Sudan and South Sudan to refrain from military force

By Norway - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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OSLO, Norway, March 28, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Norway calls on Sudan and South Sudan to refrain from using military force along the border between the two countries.

“We are deeply concerned about reports of military clashes in the border areas between Sudan and South Sudan. The parties must immediately halt all use of military force and withdraw to areas well within their own borders,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

On Monday, fighting broke out between troops from Sudan and South Sudan in the disputed oil region along the border. This has come just before the planned summit between President al-Bashir of Sudan and President Kiir of South Sudan scheduled for early April. The summit is important in order to increase momentum in the negotiations between the two countries on oil transport, border demarcation, citizenship and other issues. The military clashes could upset plans for the meeting between the two heads of state. This could have a negative impact on the difficult negotiations taking place in Addis Ababa under the leadership of the African Union and former President Thabo Mbeki.

“We will contact with the leaders in both countries and in the region with a view to persuading the parties to show restraint and refrain from further provocation. It is important that the summit goes ahead according to plan,” said Mr Støre.

Norway is supporting the negotiations, among other things by making Norwegian petroleum expertise available to the AU's negotiating panel.