EU gets South Sudan ceasefire assurance
Updated: 2012-05-03 11:04
NAIROBI - South Sudan has agreed to abide by the peace resolutions agreed with Sudan under the African Union appointed peace mediation committee, South Sudan officials confirmed to the European Union Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.
Piebalgs confirmed in Nairobi during a press conference that he had met South Sudan officials while on visit to the region this week and told him they have agreed that they will work towards achieving peace with Sudan.
South Sudan officials had earlier criticized the African Union mediation efforts, saying they were slow and biased. "They have assured us that they are ready for ceasefire and to abide by the outcomes agreed by the African Union," he said on Wednesday.
The two countries came to a near blown-out war last month when South Sudan attacked and occupied Heglig, one of the key oil producing towns of Sudan near the shared border.
South Sudan has since withdrawn its troops but tensions between the two countries continued to escalate raising fears of a war that could destabilize the Horn of Africa region that is already trying to fight drought and another war in Somalia.
"We are very much encouraging peace for development to tap to the enormous resource in the two countries to enable every of their citizens benefit from the end of years of the civil war," said Piebalgs.
The two countries, previously a unitary nation known only as Sudan have been involved in several decades of civil war as the South sought to separate from the North citing unfair resource distribution and restriction on human rights.
That separation finally happened last year when South Sudan became the newest country in Africa.
Sudan has already declared state of emergency along its shared border with the South but the release of prisoners of war by the two countries helped ease tensions.
Regional leaders have called on the leadership of the two countries to avoid a blown out war because it will erode the peace and development gains already achieved since the conclusion of a peace process between the two countries in 2005.