Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s government spokesperson and Information Minister addressing the press conference in Juba [©Gurtong/ Waakhe Wudu]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 25th April 2012 [Gurtong]
“SPLA troops have now withdrawn from Panthou (Heglig) in an orderly manner as requested by the President of the UN Security Council. This was done to create an environment conducive to dialogue and resolutions of the outstanding issues,” South Sudanese government’s spokesperson Dr. Barnaba Marial has said.
He ruled out claims by Khartoum that SAF repulsed SPLA from the Heglig.
However, Marial said bombardment by the SAF has never ended despite the SPLA pullout from the region; in the recent attacks innocent civilians have been killed and wounded.
The government calls upon the international community to become more robustly engaged in promoting a peaceful resolution to all outstanding issues, Marial said.
“We call for the immediate demarcation of the agreed border areas and the referral of disputes pertaining to the status of the contested areas to international court of arbitration including SAF’s immediate withdrawal from Panthou (Heglig),” he added.
He reiterated South Sudanese government’s readiness for immediate resumption of negotiations on all outstanding issues. Despite past pressure from the international community on the two countries to resolve post secession issues; Abyei, Oil, Border demarcation have remained key issues necessitating conflicts.
Meanwhile the South Sudanese government has also commended efforts of the international community on condemning Khartoum’s latest bombardment on South Sudan and called for commitment to cease hostilities between the two nations.
“The government of the Republic of South Sudan appreciates the statement of the Secretary General of the United Nations and the US government. The Secretary General’s statement came late but is nevertheless its welcome,” Marial said.