South Sudan's forces on border for now

Jan. 10, 2013 at 12:12 PM

JUBA, South Sudan, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The full redeployment of South Sudanese troops from disputed border regions should be completed next week, a military spokesman said.

Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the South Sudanese military, told the independent Sudan Tribune that military forces haven't received orders to pull back from the northern border.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met recently in Ethiopia to discuss border security issues. South Sudan's independence in 2011 was the result of a 2005 peace agreement, though oil disputes, ethnic clashes are border conflicts have threatened the fragile peace.

"The operational directive to the ministry of defense from the presidency has not been issued," Aguer said.

Aguer said the redeployment would be monitored by an independent body to ensure both sides were living up to their shared agreements.

He added that Kiir expected 10 border crossings would be opened by the end of March. Operations to pull back from the border should be concluded by Jan. 16, he said.

Early this week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the United States was "deeply concerned" by reports of continued fighting in the border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

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