Sudan's President al-Bashir attends opening session of 23rd Arab League summit in Sirte in 2010
The Arab League called an emergency meeting on Thursday over the quickly escalating violence between Sudan and South Sudan.
With Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowing to reclaim South Sudan, which celebrated its independence from its northern neighbor last July, the Secretariat General of the Arab League said that both sides need to respect the terms of the 2005 peace treaty before the countries are again plunged into war, the Sudan Vision reported.
According to the Africa Review, Sudan, which is a member of the Arab League, first called for the meeting this week in response to the occupation of Heglig by the Sudan People's Liberation Army -- the ruling military of South Sudan. The SPLA seized the oil-producing town earlier this month, which the north deemed tantamount to an act of war.
Retaliatory violence from both sides have brought an end to peace talks being held in Ethiopia. Each side has characterized the other as the aggressor, and South Sudan claims to have repelled four attacks from Sudan in the past two days.
On Thursday, Egypt said it is prepared to mediate between Sudan and South Sudan and the emergency Arab League meeting will be held in Cairo next week. The League, along with the United Nations, also called for the south to immediately withdraw from Heglig, which the government has no intention of doing, according to the Associated Press.
Sudan and South Sudan both claim the area, which is home to the Heglig oil field. South Sudan government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said on Thursday that South Sudan would withdraw from the area to avoid an all out war, but only if the African Union guarantees an end to hostilities and if Sudan pulls out of the disputed Abyei region, which is also flush with oil.
Sudan and South Sudan are "teetering on the brink of all-out war from which neither would benefit," the International Crisis Group said in an alert. "Increasingly angry rhetoric, support for each other's rebels, poor command and control, and brinkmanship, risk escalating limited and contained conflict into a full-scale confrontation."
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