South Sudan’s leader says Sudan has declared war
The president of newly independent South Sudan, in Beijing lobbying for economic and diplomatic support, told China’s president today that attacks by rival Sudan amount to a declaration of war on his country.
There has yet to be a formal declaration of war by either of the Sudans, and Salva Kiir’s remark, made during talks with President Hu Jintao, signals a ratcheting up of rhetoric between the rival nations which have been teetering on the brink of war. Kiir arrived in China late Monday for a five-day visit. He told Hu the visit comes at “a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbor in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan.”
Israel legalizes West Bank outposts
Israel legalized three unsanctioned West Bank settler outposts and was trying to save another today, infuriating the Palestinians as the chief American Mideast envoy was in the region laboring to revive peace efforts.
The decision fueled suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline coalition would try to legalize as many rogue settlement sites as possible to cement Israel’s hold on occupied land the Palestinians claim for a state. Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem as the core of their hoped-for state, and see all Israeli settlement as illegal encroachment on those lands. They have refused to restart peace talks until construction halts.
Syrian rebels target officials
Rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime launched three separate attacks on his security forces around Damascus today, killing two ranking officers and rocking the capital with a booby-trapped car. The attacks took place as a U.N. team observing Syria’s violence-ridden truce was visiting another area near the capital.