South Sudan: Border Tensions Increase
South Sudan said Thursday that it was prepared to withdraw from the contested city of Heglig, which it captured from Sudanese forces this week, under certain conditions, but that it was also prepared to send its army back to Abyei, another contested city along the border. The minister of information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, echoing statements by President Salva Kiir, said South Sudan “cannot talk about withdrawal” unless contested regions were demilitarized and international observers were put in place. Until then, Mr. Marial said, South Sudan would remain in Heglig, an oil-rich city that both Sudan and South Sudan claim and Sudan has controlled since 2005. But South Sudan has accused Sudan of using contested border regions as a “springboard” for attacks on its territory. Since their split last year, the two sides have been caught in a dispute over a host of issues, including citizenship, the demarcation of the border and how to share the South’s oil. On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council demanded “a complete, immediate and unconditional end to all fighting” between Sudan and South Sudan.