UN Confirms Air Drop Where South Sudan Says Sudan Dropped Guns

The United Nations confirmed its troops spotted a white plane dropping packages in an area where South Sudan said a Sudanese aircraft supplied weapons to rebels, a day before the countries’ presidents were to meet.

A Sudanese Antonov plane air-dropped weapons and ammunition to the militia led by David Yau Yau, which is fighting South Sudanese troops in Jonglei state, South Sudan said on Sept. 22.

“There was a white fixed-wing aircraft that was observed by Unmiss troops dropping packages,” UN Mission in South Sudan spokesman Kouider Zerrouk said today by telephone from Juba, South Sudan’s capital. “But Unmiss is not in a position to confirm what was in them and who dropped them.”

Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir met for African Union-brokered talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, yesterday, AFP reported. The two leaders are expected to sign pacts to help end a dispute over oil fees and border security that brought the countries to the brink of war in April, and prompted the UN Security Council to threaten sanctions.

South Sudan became the world’s newest country on July 9, 2011, and upon secession took about 75 percent of the previously united country’s oil production. The conflict over crude, which prompted South Sudan to halt 350,000 barrels a day of oil shipments via a pipeline to a Sudanese port, threatened both nations’ economies.

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