South Sudan courts Turkey as mediator

April 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, April 2 (UPI) -- A delegation from South Sudan is expected to brief the Turkish government on the negotiations with Sudan, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Pagan Amum, secretary-general of South Sudan's ruling Party Sudan People's Liberation Movement, arrived Tuesday in Ankara for a two-day visit. Amum arrived at the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

"Amum, who will have various meetings in Ankara and Istanbul, will exchange views with Minister Davutoglu on bilateral relations and the latest situation in the negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan," the Turkish Foreign Minister said in a statement.

South Sudan Ambassador to Turkey John Gai Yoh said Ankara is a vital partner in mediating simmering disputes with Sudan. He told Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman last month that Turkey has an "advantageous position" in the region because of historic ties to Sudan.

Sudan called for Turkey's help with conflict resolution in December.

Sudanese President Omar Bashir called for the release of political prisoners. He heads later this month to South Sudan to continue peace negotiations.

South Sudan accused its neighbor Monday of "deliberately" launching attacks on a border state inside a demilitarized zone separating both countries, the independent Sudan Tribune reports.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Both sides have teetered on the brink of war since then.

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