South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has blamed Sudan's leadership for the separation between the two countries in 2011. South Sudan became the world's newest nation following a referendum on independence.
The vote was part of the 2005's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that aimed to end the Second Sudanese civil war (1983-2005).
However, Kiir has now claimed the split was caused by Sudan's National Congress Party (NCP)'s decision to implement Sharia law.
"The Sudanese government insisted on the implementation of the Islamic Shariah law in the country, which forced us to separate. We would have remained in one Sudan," said Kiir during a public address in the town of Yei, according to independent news website Radio Tamazuj.
"But we would have faced difficulties in the power sharing, but when they refused to drop the Islamic law, we were given the option to break away and create our own country," he continued.
The leader further claimed Sudan had failed to convince people in what is now South Sudan to stay united.
However, Khalid al-Mubarak, media counsellor at the Sudanese embassy in London, told IBTimes UK the allegations were unfounded, claiming that secularism was used "as a pretext" for independence.
"Christians were exempted from Islamic law, and that is still the case in the Sudan after secession. Furthermore all the opposition, including the Umma party [Islamic party] and the Communist party agreed, with Western pressure, to the right of self-determination for Southern Sudan in their Asmara conference in 1995. That led to the referendum that was followed by secession in 2011," he explained.
Mubarak then specified that the NPC is not Sudan's only ruling party as the country is ruled by a coalition.
"The Americans have admitted and even boasted that they have engineered Southern Sudan's secession. In their feverish haste to do so they overlooked many hazards that have now come home to roost," he further claimed.
"The Southerers fought two civil wars. Among them Mr Kiir was known as a separatist, while Dr Garang advocated unity of the Sudan (under SPLM rule)," Mubarak concluded.
South Sundan's war
South Sudan descended into war in 2013 – just two years after gaining independence – when Kiir, of the Dinka ethnic group, fired his deputy and rebel leader Riek Machar from his cabinet.
Kiir and Machar have agreed on several peace deals – the last of which was signed in August 2015 – but have failed to control their troops, who have broken every ceasefire since 2014.
Ethnic-related violence targeting Dinka and Nuer has killed an estimated 50,000 people, amid allegations of crimes against humanity committed by both sides, including rape, torture and the use of child soldiers. Millions are displaced and are facing severe food shortages due to a man-made famine.
IBTimes UK's exclusive interview with Machar:
Kiir has often accused Sudan of providing logistics and weapons to Machar's rebels, something Khartoum denies.
In turn, Sudan accuses its neighbour of hosting Darfuri rebels and members of the SPLM-North (SPLM-N) banned political party, currently engaged in an armed conflict against Sudanese troops in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
Machar fled South Sudan following deadly fighting in capital Juba in July 2016.