Sudan backs away from a ‘joint force proposal’

Juba, January 7, 2014 (SSNA) — Khartoum has on Tuesday brushed aside Juba’s combined force proposal to help protect its oil fields from rebel attacks.

Sudanese president Omar al Bashir met with his Southern counterpart Salva kiir on Monday in Juba and discussed the plan in a closed door meeting.

Earlier, Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Karti said that Kiir and Bashir had discussed “the deployment of joint forces to secure oil areas in South Sudan”. Karti added that Sudan would prepare “900 technicians ready to go to work in Juba’s oil fields”, according to the state-run SUNA.

However, on Tuesday, Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that the idea of a joint force proposed by Juba was not discussed in the meeting, Reuters reported.

Peace talks are currently under way in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. But, fighting continues between government troops and rebels forces.

More than 200,000 people have been displaced by the conflict and at least 1,000 dead.

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