* Weeks of border clashes have raised fears of war
* Africn Union deadline for talks expires on Tuesday
* Sudan extends deadline for expulsion of S.Sudanese
By Yara Bayoumy
KHARTOUM, May 3 (Reuters) - Sudan and South Sudan's armies, who have been
clashing along their disputed border for weeks, said on Thursday the
frontier was calm after both accepted a U.N.-backed African Union plan to
The crisis between the former civil war foes has raised fears of a return to
all-out conflict and that prompted the AU to issue an ultimatum for both to
stop fighting with the Security Council threatening sanctions if they did
"There are no military operations at the border. There is an atmosphere of
guardedness and watchfulness," Sudanese army spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid
said on Thursday. "The situation has been quiet for the last two days. The
Sudanese army has not announced a formal ceasefire, but the fronts are
Philip Aguer, South Sudan's army (SPLA) spokesman, also said the frontier,
along which clashes between rebels backed by Khartoum and by Juba have also
broken out, was calm. "It has been quiet on the border for the last 48
hours," he said.
After several rounds of failed talks to resolve disputes over oil exports,
border demarcation and citizenship, the tensions escalated during the past
month into fighting along the ill-defined, 1,800 km (1,200 mile) frontier.
At one point South Sudan, which seceded and declared independence from Sudan
last year, seized a disputed oilfield in Sudan, before withdrawing under
Khartoum's warplanes have bombarded several areas in the oil regions of the
South's Unity state.
Sudan has denied carrying out specific air strikes, but has reserved the
right to use aerial attacks to defend territory.
The conflict has halted nearly all oil production in both countries, the
lifeline of their respective economies.
MUTUAL PLEDGES TO SEEK PEACE
South Sudan said it had accepted the AU's seven-point roadmap that called
for a cessation of hostilities, while Sudan said it had assented to the plan
Sudan said it had confidence in the AU's mission and that it was committed
to cooperating with it.
The foreign ministry also said Khartoum was committed to a long-standing
peace with the South and hoped Juba would cooperate with the AU and Security
Both countries deny the other's allegations of supporting rebel forces.
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution
threatening Khartoum and Juba with sanctions if they failed to silence the
guns and resume talks within two weeks, endorsing the AU's deadline of May
The AU's plan also calls for Sudan and South Sudan to withdraw troops from
contested areas and resume talks with the aim of resolving all outstanding
Neither can afford a protracted, full-blown conflict but distrust runs deep
between them, especially after the South gained independence from its
northern neighbour last July under a 2005 peace deal that ended two decades
of civil war.
The breakaway left tens of thousands of South Sudanese stranded as
foreigners in Sudan. Sudan's government initially gave them until April 8 to
get the right papers or leave.
The Sudanese government issued a May 5 departure deadline for up to 12,000
South Sudanese stuck in the port of Kosti, hoping to leave by Nile barge.
But Khartoum then halted river traffic because it said South Sudan was using
it to transport weapons to rebels.
The May 5 deadline prompted an outcry from the United Nations and the
International Organisation for Migration. The government said late on
Wednesday the South Sudanese now had until May 20 to leave. (Additional
reporting by El-Tayeb Siddig; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by David
C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
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Received on Thu May 03 2012 - 11:46:03 EDT