UN cannot impose upon Sudan: Bashir

Neither the United Nations nor the African Union can impose its will on Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir said on Thursday, after fresh fighting along the border with South Sudan.

"We will implement what we want and, what we do not want, no one can impose upon us -- neither the UN Security Council nor the African Union Peace and Security Council," Bashir said.

He was referring to a May 2 UN Security Council resolution calling for Sudan and South Sudan to cease hostilities along their border, and resume talks to settle unresolved issues.

A South Sudanese cabinet minister said on Thursday his country was ready for talks at any time.

Bashir's remarks were his first about the resolution, and came a day after Sudan's army said it had fought with South Sudan along the disputed border on Wednesday, while the South said it came under renewed Sudanese air attack, violating a four-day-old UN-imposed ceasefire.

The UN resolution also ordered Sudan and South Sudan to pull troops back from their disputed frontier, effective Wednesday May 9, but Khartoum said it could not comply until there was a border agreement.

Bashir made his comments in an address to about 1,000 oil industry workers marking the "liberation" last month of Sudan's main oil region of Heglig, which South Sudan occupied for 10 days in a move coinciding with waves of Sudanese air raids against the South, leading to fears of a wider war.

Khartoum's foreign ministry has said it is committed to stopping hostilities under the UN resolution, but it also has certain reservations "which may create some difficulties in fully implementing" it.

The South's government also pledged to seek peace after the UN threatened sanctions if both sides did not stop border fighting by last Friday evening to avert "a serious threat to international peace and security."

On Wednesday, the army in Khartoum said it had expelled South Sudanese troops and their rebel allies from two areas, Kafindibei and Kafia Kingi, in South Darfur state across from the South's Western Bahr el-Ghazal state.

Sudan's foreign ministry has described Kafindibei and Kafia Kingi as disputed.

Earlier on Wednesday, Southern army spokesman Kella Kueth said Sudan had been "randomly bombarding civilian areas," in Southern border states on Monday and Tuesday.

Sudan has repeatedly denied bombing the South.

South Sudan's army confirmed, however, that Kafindibei had been captured by Sudanese troops backed by air support on Monday.

The incident is the first confirmed violation after the cessation of hostilities took effect.

While Khartoum announced last week that it would honour the ceasefire, it accused South Sudan of continuing aggression by occupying disputed points along the border and warned that if they did not withdraw, they would be forced out in an act of self-defence.

An international analyst said it was "logical" to try to secure territory ahead of possible negotiations, but also "very, very dangerous."

Kueth said his forces were not involved in the Darfur border clashes, saying they were between Khartoum's army and northern rebels.

Both countries accuse each other of backing insurgents on each other's territories -- a practice the UN resolution says they must end.

"If they support rebels, we will support rebels. We are going to treat them with equality," Bashir told the oil workers.

The UN requires that by next Wednesday the two countries "unconditionally resume negotiations", mediated by the African Union, on unresolved issues after the South's separation last July following a 1983-2005 civil war.

These include oil payments, the status of each country's citizens resident in the other, disputed border areas and the contested Abyei region.

"We are ready to go for talks anytime... If we don't implement and comply with the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolution, the conflict may escalate," said Deng Alor, South Sudan's minister for cabinet affairs.

But Bashir said Sudan "will not negotiate about any issues" unless security matters are resolved first.

Alor said Juba may also be willing to restart the flow of oil through pipelines that run through Sudan for export.

South Sudan in January shut down its oil production after accusing the north of theft during the dispute over oil fees.

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