South Sudan pulls out after Obama’s warning
Supporters cheer soldiers in their vehicle during a celebration march outside Sudan’s Defense Ministry. South Sudan completes its withdrawal from Heglig. REUTERS photoSouth Sudan’s army has completed its withdrawal from Sudan’s main Heglig oil field, the military said yesterday after U.S. President Barack Obama called on both states to resume talks.
Juba seized the flashpoint oil hub on April 10, claiming that Khartoum was using Heglig as a base to attack the South’s oil-producing Unity State. Although South Sudan disputes it, Heglig is internationally regarded as part of Sudan. The South’s Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) “completed its withdrawal from Heglig yesterday,” the South’s military spokesman Philip Aguer told Agence France-Presse. But, he charged that Sudan “continued bombing” the area on April 20 and on April 21 morning.
While the 10-day occupation, which U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon branded illegal, appeared to be coming to an end, each side had its own version of events.
Obama said late on April 20 that “the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan must have the courage to return to the table and negotiate and resolve these issues peacefully.” “We know what needs to happen. The government of Sudan must stop its military actions, including aerial bombardments,” he said.