Sudanese Army Says SPLA Are Still in Disputed Areas

Khartoum — The Sudanese army accused South Sudan forces (SPLA) of not fulfilling prompt and unconditional withdrawal of its troops from five disputed areas stressing that such position negatively affects security and stability of the border between the two states.

Sudan and South Sudan agreed in September last year to activate a buffer zone between the two countries in all the disputed zones on the common border to avoid a return to war between the two countries.

However, the operationalisation of this demilitarised zone is not yet effective due to the divergence of the two parties over the inclusion of South Kordofan and Blue Nile borders in this zone. Also, on Mile 14, the two parties disagree over the surface of the claimed area.

In a press release published on Monday, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad said that Juba's non-compliance with withdrawal is a rejection of the Security Council Resolution 2046 and all the agreements signed by both parties.

The military spokesperson cautioned that Juba failure to withdraw troops has a serious impact on the achievement of the common interest of the two peoples, and adversely affect the security and stability on the border between the two countries.

He added that Sudan, in its letter to the UNISFA commander forces, confirmed that SAF forces have no military presence south to the centreline of the demilitarized area.

The South Sudanese government on 16 January announced the withdrawal of its troops from the disputed area.

Juba also stressed it accepted in a meeting held in Addis Ababa on 15 January at level of the joint political and security committee that the full demilitarisation of Mile 14 will be completed by D-day +47 days.

"In addition to the withdrawal of RSS troops south of the centreline we have also started the redeployment of our forces from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (10km withdrawal from the centreline", which will be completed by the deadline of 4 February 2013", said South Sudanese defence minister John Kong Nyuon, as reported in the statement.

Al-Sawarmi also denied reports that James Gai, leader of the rebel South Sudan Liberation Movement is conducting military attacks against the SPLA saying he is under arrest, reaffirming Khartoum's commitment to not support or harbour South Sudanese rebel groups.

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