UN leader Ban Ki-moon raised an international alert over what he called a “worrying deterioration” in rivalry between Sudan and South Sudan barely six months after their separation.
“The secretary general is deeply concerned by continuing tensions along the border between Sudan and South Sudan as well as the current oil crisis,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Friday.
After a number of clashes along their disputed border, the South Sudan government on Friday ordered a halt in oil production, accusing the Khartoum government of stealing the oil that transports through the north.
“This situation indicates a worrying deterioration in the relationship between the two states,” said Ban’s spokesman.
Backing African Union efforts to mediate in the crisis, Nesirky said: “The secretary general strongly urges the parties to do everything possible to reach agreement” at AU brokered talks in Addis Ababa “to defuse the current oil crisis, and address the other contentious issues on the agenda that require immediate resolution.”
South Sudan became independent from the north in July under a 2005 accord which ended more than two decades of civil war in which about two million people died.
They still have not agreed a border, however, nor the sharing of revenues from oil and how to carve up the debt dating from before the split. The two sides blame each other for the tensions.