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Sudan Ready For Peace Talks With South Sudan

Sudan has informed Moscow of its willingness to start negotiations with South Sudan to settle their conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

Lavrov made the statement after talks with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti in Moscow. "We have heard from our Sudanese colleagues that they are ready immediately to start talks, provided that South Sudan also responds to this," Lavrov said.

Karti is visiting Moscow amid heightened tension on the Sudan-South Sudan border and active regional and international efforts aimed at preventing fresh military confrontation between the two neighbors.

Moscow wants both sides to act entirely on the basis of international law, complying with all requirements of international institutions, including the United Nations, Lavrov said, adding that a U.N. resolution on Sudan should be balanced and objective. "Our position on this resolution is that it should really reflect what each of the sides does or does not do," Lavrov was quoted by Russia's official media as saying.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan on the basis of a 2011 referendum that came as part of a peace deal to end decades of civil war. However, fighting still rages in the disputed territory along the border with Sudan in which thousands are feared dead.

On April 10, South Sudan forces invaded the oil-producing border region of Heglig, which the 2009 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague included in Sudan's South Kordofan State. Heglig accounts for 60,000 of the 115,000 barrels of oil produced in Sudan daily.

Sudanese armed forces retook Heglig, the main city in the eponymous disputed oil district, a week after the South Sudanese armed forces entered the area.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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