Sudans defuse row over rebel support, promise more talks


Sudan’s foreign minister said neighbor South Sudan had promised him it would not let rebels operate across their shared border, defusing a row that had threatened a key oil deal.

The countries, which fought one of Africa’s longest civil before a 2005 peace deal, agreed in March to resume cross-border crude exports and defuse tensions that have plagued them since South Sudan’s secession in 2011.

Last week Sudan said South Sudan had put the deal at risk by supporting a rebel alliance which launched a surprise attack on the central Sudanese city of Um Rawaba in April, Reuters reports.

In the first high-level meeting since the accusation, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti held talks with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in the southern capital Juba on Friday.

Afterwards, Karti told reporters he had received assurances insurgents would receive no support from the southern side of the border.
“President Kiir confirmed that he would not allow armed groups to cross the border … and bring weapons and other things to endanger Sudan’s security situation,” Karti said.
“There is a strong commitment from both sides to implement the (oil and trade) agreements,” he added.

South Sudan has regularly denied accusations of backing the rebels inside Sudan.

South Sudan Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial said the neighbors had agreed to move on and continue their dialogue.
“The border covers a vast area and sometimes developments happen without knowledge of one side,” he said.

The rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front, which attacked Um Rawaba, is made up of fighters from Sudan’s strife-town western Darfur region, and other insurgents in its southern border region that sided with the south during the civil war.

The insurgents say they are fighting against exploitation by an Arab political elite in Khartoum. Khartoum denies the charge.