Addis Ababa - Senior officials from Sudan and South Sudan met on Monday
for the first face-to-face talks since heavy fighting between their
armies broke out last week in disputed oil-rich border regions.
clashes including airstrikes, tanks and heavy artillery - the worst
violence since South Sudan's independence in July - had raised
international concerns the former civil war foes could return to all out
Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, who
met his southern counterpart John Kong Nyuon with their respective
delegations, said he hoped the meeting would result in a signed deal.
"We agreed that this tension between the two countries should be released," Hussein said.
Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said talks were ongoing,
but added claims that Khartoum was "still bombing" border areas in the
"South Sudan is determined to ensure a return to war is
avoided and to peacefully resolve the outstanding issues," he told
reporters in Nairobi.
"It is time to leave the path of
confrontation and war, and walk the path of peace in the interest of the
people of Sudan and South Sudan."
Delegations from both
countries were in the Ethiopian capital for crisis talks that were
stalled after both sides accused each other of initiating the clashes.
army late Sunday claimed South Sudanese forces launched another push
into the Heglig oil region - a disputed area controlled by Khartoum -
accusations denied by Juba.
Tensions remain high between their armies along the border, and both sides have traded furious rhetoric.
is very clear that the aggression is from their side," said Badreldin
Abdalla, a senior official at Sudan's foreign ministry attending the
talks, adding that Khartoum was "committed to peace".
"Sudan's government is not for war, it is not for conflict again," Abdalla said ahead of Monday's meeting.
Juba's chief negotiator Pagan Amum on Sunday accused the north of "waging war" and said Khartoum was planning fresh attacks.