Pretoria — President Jacob Zuma has joined the international community in expressing his deep concern following the recent military confrontation between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA).

The military confrontation took place in the disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan.

This recent military confrontation has the potential to worsen the humanitarian crisis in the affected region, leading to further civilian casualties, and also threatens to precipitate a resumption of conflict between Sudan and South Sudan said the President.

He urged the two parties to once again demonstrate the exceptional leadership and commitment to peace that was shown when they signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, which brought an end to the civil war that had ravaged the region.

"The tremendous display of the will of the people was a moment we all stood in awe of in January 2011 when the referendum in South Sudan went ahead without incident.

"The honour displayed by Presidents Omar Al Bashir and Salva Kiir during the inauguration of South Sudan in July 2011 gave hope to all of us on the Continent that peace and mutual respect is achievable." He said.

He also urged Sudan and South Sudan not to allow this incident to derail the gains made thus far.

The President also commended the two parties for their courage and resolve in concluding a Non-Aggression and Cooperation Pact on 10 February 2012, which makes provision for the two States to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. He urged that this pact be implemented in full.

He called on both parties not to undertake any action that would undermine the security and stability of the region and each other's territories, adding that President Al Bashir and President Salva Kiir resume their scheduled talks and ensure that the Summit in Juba takes place as planned.

"The Summit would be a strong gesture and have a calming and restorative effect on the relations, as did the visit of President Bashir just days before the referendum."

He called on both States to utilise the upcoming session of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism to defuse tensions along the border, and to continue working within the context of the negotiations carried out under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

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