Sudan - South pull-out needs UN troops

2013-04-23 21:37
Sudanese soldiers walk in the oil town of Heglig. (Ebrahim Hamid, AFP)

Sudanese soldiers walk in the oil town of Heglig. (Ebrahim Hamid, AFP)

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Khartoum - Verification of a Sudan and South Sudan pull-out from a border buffer zone has to await the arrival of more than 1 000 United Nations peacekeepers, a UN commander said in documents released on Tuesday.

The two countries, which battled on their undemarcated frontier a year ago, had a 5 April deadline to withdraw forces from the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone dividing them.

"Until ground verification is carried out, no definite findings can be reached about the redeployment of forces from both sides," area force commander General Yohannes Tesfamariam reported to a meeting of the two countries on Monday and Tuesday in Ethiopia.

The African Union released a copy of Tesfamariam's briefing.

He said land patrols can take place once the UN Security Council authorises an additional 1 126 peacekeepers to protect a group of border monitors from Sudan, South Sudan and the UN.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requested the additional peacekeepers in late March.

After months of intermittent clashes, Sudan and South Sudan agreed in early March to detailed timetables for normalising relations by setting up the border buffer zone and implementing eight other key pacts.

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