Sudan fears over South Sudan fighting

Sudan said it is concerned over the fate of oil flow and the influx of refugees as violence spreads in South Sudan

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The Sudanese government has expressed its concern over the fate of oil flow and the influx of refugees and weapons as hostilities spread in South Sudan.

"This will affect all the neighboring countries. In Sudan we are going to suffer even more than the others," Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told Agence France-Presse on Friday.

"Definitely one of the targets of the two powers will try to take over the oil fields," perhaps as a way to improve their bargaining position, Osman said.

"It's a struggle for wealth and power," he added.

So far, both Sudanese and South Sudanese officials have confirmed that oil production has not been affected by clashes.

A source in Sudan, which hosts the sole export pipeline, said on Friday there had been no disruption.

Sudan's cash-starved economy is to receive an estimated $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) in fees from South Sudan next year for moving crude through northern pipelines for export.

Ready for dialogue

Meanwhile, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar have agreed to "unconditional dialogue" in a bid to end deadly strife in the country, diplomats said.

Kiir and Machar made the commitment to African foreign ministers who went to Juba in a bid to end fighting in which hundreds of people have been killed, U.N. Security Council President Gerard Araud told reporters.

"The president and the former vice president have apparently accepted to enter into unconditional dialogue," Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, told reporters after an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on the South Sudan crisis.

The team included ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti and Somali, and African Union (AU) and U.N. representatives. It is the first peace initiative since clashes erupted.

The 15-member Security Council agreed on a statement which called on Kiir and Machar "to demonstrate leadership in bringing a swift and peaceful resolution to this crisis by calling for a cessation of hostilities and immediately commencing a dialogue."

The council expressed "grave alarm" at the worsening crisis which it said was a threat to the whole region.

International reactions

President Barack Obama called Thursday for an immediate end to the fighting in South Sudan, warning the country stands at the “precipice” of civil war.

Obama, who earlier announced he had deployed 45 troops to the violence-wracked country on Wednesday to protect U.S. personnel and interests, warned that “recent fighting threatens to plunge South Sudan back into the dark days of its past.”

He made his remarks in a strongly-worded statement, his most pointed remarks to date on the bloodshed in the nascent African nation.

In another development, Britain sent a second flight on Friday to evacuate its nationals from South Sudan, the Foreign Office said.

On Thursday, a Royal Air Force C-17 military transport plane successfully evacuated 182 people, including 53 British nationals, out of the country to Uganda, officials said.

Britain and the United States have both pulled some of their embassy staff out of the country and have urged their nationals to leave.

A German plane was also scheduled to fly out.

In a sign of unease among South Sudan's neighbors, Ugandan soldiers flew in to help evacuate their citizens. Two anonymous military sources said they would also help secure the capital, which lies about 75 km from Uganda's border.

Violence aftermath

The U.N. said 34,000 people in South Sudan are seeking refuge at U.N. bases in three locations across the country.

The U.N.’s humanitarian arm said Friday that 20,000 people are seeking shelter in Juba, while 14,000 are seeking shelter in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, the scene of heavy violence this week. Several hundred people are seeking shelter in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, where South Sudan’s oil fields are concentrated.

Three Indian peacekeepers were killed on Thursday in an attack by ethnic Nuer youths on a United Nations base in Jonglei state. Other casualties are feared.

54 other people from Kiir's Dinka ethnic group were killed by Machar loyalists in the Akobo raid, Ateny Wek Ateny, a presidential spokesperson said according to Reuters.

Violence broke out among South Sudan’s presidential guard late Sunday night. The growing violence has prompted fears that the world’s youngest nation could slide toward civil war.

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