Sudan wants to live peacefully with S Sudan: Bashir
Baghdad: Sudan wants to resolve peacefully all disputes with South Sudan and build up good relations with the former civil war foe, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Thursday, after two days of border clashes between the two countries.
Newly-independent South Sudan moved out troops from Sudan's oil-producing Heglig area on Wednesday after it accused Khartoum of bombing oil fields and other areas on its side of the border.
Sudan denied the air raids, but said South Sudanese troops started the fighting by attacking Heglig, one of the major oilfields left on the Sudanese side of the border.
As a result of the violence Bashir cancelled a visit to Juba where he had been due to meet his southern counterpart Salva Kiir on April 3 to discuss a row over oil payments.
In his first comments since the fighting, Bashir told an Arab League summit in Iraq that Sudan wanted to live in peace with South Sudan, which seceded from Khartoum under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.
"We have the sincere will to bring back things to normal and observe the interest of both nations to live in peace," he told Arab leaders at the summit in Baghdad.
"We...assure you of our determination to go ahead towards settling unresolved issues through an understanding with our brothers in the government of South Sudan (and)...to build up a close cooperation and good relations with the newborn state," Bashir said.
South Sudan became independent in July 9 but has been locked since then in a row with Sudan over how much it should pay to export its oil through Sudan. The new nation took three-quarters of Sudan's oil production but has no export facilities or refineries.
The neighbours also need to mark the border, find a solution for the disputed region of Abyei and end accusations of rebel support on each other's territory.
The United Nations and the African Union on Thursday urged the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan to convene for talks as soon as possible.