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UN Security Council prods Sudan and South Sudan back to talks

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"It is also essential that both parties return at once to the negotiating table under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to reach agreement on critical outstanding issues,” said the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, after the vote. “We support the plans of the African of the African Union to travel to Khartoum and Juba in the coming days to begin the process. This is ultimately the only way that further conflict can be avoided."

With crucial issues, such as the final borders between their countries, left unresolved by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Sudan and South Sudan were almost inevitably bound to return to conflict. Diplomats hoped, however, that war fatigue and canny economic self-interest for the two countries would ensure that the two countries keep their dispute in the negotiation room and off the battlefield. One month of fighting and hundreds of deaths later, those hopes have been quashed.

Now, with both the United Nations and the African Union pushing the two countries to get back to mediation, diplomats hope they are creating the chance for Sudan and South Sudan to cool off and give peace yet another chance.

South Sudan Minister for Government Affairs Deng Alor Kuol told journalists at the UN on Tuesday that Juba was ready to abide by the UN resolution.

“If we reach an agreement, we will continue to export our oil through Port Sudan,” Bloomberg news agency quoted Mr. Kuol as saying, referring to the northern Sudan port on the Red Sea. “At the same time, we will continue to look at building alternative pipelines.”

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