JUBA: South Sudan is not withdrawing troops from the border with Sudan to set up a buffer zone as it pledged it was last month, South Sudan’s army said today, in a setback to efforts to resume the oil exports vital to both economies.
The two countries came close to war last April in the worst border clashes since South Sudan seceded in 2011 under a peace deal that ended one of Africa’s longest civil wars.
The African Union managed to broker a deal in September to defuse hostilities, but the nations have failed set up a buffer border zone and resume oil exports from the landlocked South Sudan through Sudanese pipelines as agreed in Addis Ababa.
In a sign of goodwill, South Sudan said three weeks ago it had started to unilaterally withdraw its troops from the border and would set up its side of the 10-km buffer zone by Feb 4.
Such a buffer zone is a pre-condition for Sudan to allow oil exports to restart.