The African Union (AU) has given Sudan and South Sudan an ultimatum in hopes of preventing a new war between the neighboring nations.
As violence continued in border areas this week, the AU said on Tuesday that Sudan and South Sudan have 90 days to settle disputes over oil, territory and citizenship, and to end the fighting in Abyei, according to South Africa's News 24.
Failure by each party to implement the provisions of the roadmap... or to cooperate in good faith with the (AU) panel... will result in council taking appropriate measures, stated Ramtane Lamamra, the AU's Commissioner for Peace and Security.
Lamamra also insisted that negotiations between the north and south resume within two weeks. An AU-sponsored mediation was called off by Sudan earlier this month after South Sudanese troops invaded the Heglig oil-field, a disputed border region claimed by both sides.
In the weeks that followed the seizure of Heglig, Sudan and South Sudan have engaged in back-and-forth clashes, sparking fears of a third Sudanese civil war.
Three months from now, the panel will be ending its mission by either bringing the parties to agree, to sign and to implement all that is needed to resolve all the issues at hand or by formulating a comprehensive report for the Peace and Security Council to endorse it, for the international community to support it as binding and final, Lamamra commented.
South Sudan gained its independence from the north in July as part of the 2005 peace treaty that ended the last war. However, since the split, the two sides have been unable to finalize terms of an oil revenue-sharing deal, stalling peace talks and leading to an incremental increase in violence on both sides of the border.
On Tuesday, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti said that no peace plan will work until the fighting stops, placing the burden on South Sudan to lay down its arms first.
If on a daily basis our borders are attacked from within South Sudan, this couldn't be accepted, Karti said, according to Turkish Weekly. Talking about other issues like oil revenues, like borders -- yes, these are important issues. But these are not the issues that will take both parties to an escalating war.