Sudan vows to end fighting with South Sudan

Children carry their family's belongings as they go to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan outside Tess village in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, 2 May 2012 Thousands of people have fled their homes as a result of the fighting

Sudan has promised to cease hostilities with South Sudan and comply with a UN Security Council resolution.

However the foreign ministry also said that Khartoum reserved the right to respond to "aggression" from the South.

The statement came hours after Juba alleged fresh bombing by the Khartoum government's forces.

A UN resolution on Wednesday backed an African Union plan demanding both sides cease hostilities, amid fears of an all-out war between the neighbours.

The Security Council called for a written commitment by both governments within 48 hours, and threatened sanctions if its terms were not met.

The South has already said it accepts the terms of the roadmap.

The BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum says that both sides appear to have been brought back to the negotiating table, but tension is still high.

In a statement, a foreign ministry spokesman said Sudan would "fully commit to what has been issued in the resolution about stopping hostilities with South Sudan according to the time limits issued".

Main disputes between Sudans

  • Transit fees South Sudan should pay Sudan to use its oil pipelines
  • Demarcating the border
  • Both sides claim Abyei
  • The rights of each other's citizens now in a foreign country - there are estimated to be 500,000 southerners in Sudan and 80,000 Sudanese in South Sudan
  • Each accuses the other of supporting rebel groups on its territory

It added that it hoped the "other party will commit to stop the hostilities completely and withdraw its troops from the disputed areas so as not to put SAF [Sudanese Armed Forces] in a situation where it has to defend itself".

Under the roadmap, the two countries have until next Tuesday to restart negotiations and three months to reach an agreement.

Our correspondent says that while both countries have now committed themselves to the roadmap, they have also accused each other of new attacks.

In its statement, he says, Sudan pointed out the numerous ways in which it considers it has been attacked by South Sudan in the last few days.

Meanwhile, South Sudan said that Sudanese warplanes had bombed a military position in Unity state, and said that there had also been a ground attack.

The latest crisis began last month when the South seized an oil field at Heglig, which is internationally accepted to be in Sudan.

Disputes over the sharing of oil revenue is a major cause of conflict between Juba and Khartoum.

South Sudan took most of the oil reserves when it seceded in July 2011, but relies on pipelines to seaports in Sudan for distribution.

The South seceded from Sudan as part of a 2005 peace treaty following two decades of civil war in which some 1.5m people died.

Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international

Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.

Satellite image showing geography of Sudan, source: Nasa

Although they were united for many years, the two Sudans were always very different. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.

Map showing Ethnicity of Sudan, source:

Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.

Map showing infant Mortality in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The health inequalities in Sudan are illustrated by infant mortality rates. In South Sudan, one in 10 children die before their first birthday. Whereas in the more developed northern states, such as Gezira and White Nile, half of those children would be expected to survive.

Map showing percentage of households using improved water and sanitation in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The gulf in water resources between north and south is stark. In Khartoum, River Nile, and Gezira states, two-thirds of people have access to piped drinking water and pit latrines. In the south, boreholes and unprotected wells are the main drinking sources. More than 80% of southerners have no toilet facilities whatsoever.

Map showing percentage of who complete primary school education in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Throughout the two Sudans, access to primary school education is strongly linked to household earnings. In the poorest parts of the south, less than 1% of children finish primary school. Whereas in the wealthier north, up to 50% of children complete primary level education.

Map showing percentage of households with poor food consumption in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Conflict and poverty are the main causes of food insecurity in both countries. In Sudan, many of the residents of war-affected Darfur and the border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, depend on food aid. The UN said about 2.8m people in South Sudan would require food aid in 2013. The northern states tend to be wealthier, more urbanised and less reliant on agriculture.

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