Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir takes notes as he meets with Chief African Union mediator and former South African president, Thabo Mbeki (not seen) in Khartoum on April 6, 2012.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has accused South Sudan of playing into the hands of foreigners by “choosing the path of war” as border tensions between the two neighbors keep escalating.
“Our brothers in South Sudan have chosen the path of war, implementing plans dictated by foreign parties who supported them during the civil war,” Bashir said on Thursday, referring to the country’s internal conflicts before South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July, 2011.
“War is not the interest of either South Sudan or Sudan but, unfortunately, our brothers in the South are thinking neither of the interests of Sudan or of South Sudan,” Bashir said.
The comments follow three days of heavy fighting between the two sides, in what some fear might lead to an all-out war.
Earlier on Thursday, Sudanese warplanes attacked a strategic bridge near the South Sudanese town of Bentiu.
On Tuesday, South Sudan seized the oil-producing border town of Heglig.
The take-over prompted Sudan to pull out of crisis talks led by the African Union. The talks aimed at resolving the protracted dispute with Juba over oil, border demarcation, contested areas and citizenship issues.
On Wednesday, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir threatened to seize the disputed oil region of Abyei on the border with Sudan if the United Nations failed to pressure Sudanese forces out of the area.
The African Union has expressed deep concern over the escalating security situation on the contested border, calling for a troop pullout from border zones and the resolution of the problem through peaceful means.