AU 'Deeply Alarmed' by Growing Sudan-S.Sudan Unrestإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The African Union said Wednesday it was "deeply alarmed" by worsening violence between Sudan and South Sudan and called for the withdrawal of Southern troops from the Heglig battle zone.
"The African Union expresses grave concern at the escalating armed conflict on the border between Sudan and South Sudan and calls upon both parties to exercise utmost restraint," it said in a statement.
"The African Union notes with alarm the occupation of Heglig by the armed forces of the Republic of South Sudan, and calls for their immediate and unconditional withdrawal," it added.
Southern troops seized the contested oil-producing Heglig border region from Khartoum's army on Tuesday amidst continuing heavy artillery bombardments and air strikes.
The pan-African body also urged the former civil war foes to remove any of their troops currently in their neighbor's territory, end air strikes and stop supporting proxy rebel forces.
The worst fighting since South Sudan won independence from Sudan in July broke out last month, prompting international concern at the risk of an all-out war.
Senior officials met in AU-led crisis talks last week in the Ethiopian capital, but failed to sign an agreement on security, while negotiations on oil, a key driver of the conflict, are stalled.
Sudan's parliament on Wednesday said they were pulling out of the talks, and both sides urged their citizens to take up defenses in case of full blown war.