NAIROBI -- As conflict continues to rage along the poorly demarcated, oil-rich border separating Sudan and South Sudan, international parties are scrambling to avert full-scale war. The African Union (AU) hosted reconciliation talks Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. In a result reflective of the AU’s two-year mediation, however, Northern and Southern Sudanese officials failed to reach any tangible resolution.
The current crisis constitutes the largest scale of violence between the two national armies since South Sudan officially seceded in July 2011. Each side blames the other for instigating the aggression. South Sudan claims its northern neighbor continues to bomb oil fields up to 75 miles south of the border. Sudan routinely accuses the South of bolstering an emboldened insurgency in Sudan’s South Kordofan state.
With few options remaining, South Sudanese officials are now courting Kenyan involvement in the mediation process to bring an end to hostilities and deliver compromise on outstanding issues, such as oil revenue sharing and territorial disputes. While participants convened in the AU-sponsored process in Addis Ababa, South Sudan sent a delegation to Nairobi on Monday to meet with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.