MOSCOW Russia said on Monday a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Sudan and South Sudan does not amount to a threat of sanctions if the two countries fail to comply with demands to stop hostilities.
"There are no sanctions there," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists at a joint news conference with visiting Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti.
"There is not even a threat of sanctions."
But Lavrov said the draft resolution mentioned the possibility of further steps, including "economic measures", under Article 41 of the U.N. Charter if the situation did not improve.
The African Union's Peace and Security Council last week urged both sides to cease hostilities and withdraw troops from disputed areas, and warned it would issue its own binding rulings if they failed to strike deals on a string of disputes within three months.
The draft U.S.-backed U.N. resolution, seen by Reuters, warns Khartoum and Juba of "its determination, in the event that one or both of the parties have not complied, to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 of the (U.N.) Charter."
Article 41 says measures including "complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations", could be employed to ensure implementation of the Council's decisions.
"Yes, some economic measures could be taken but let me repeat - this is not an automatic decision, but only an indication, depending on how the resolution is implemented," Lavrov said.
"This article does not foresee any use of force," he said.
The Security Council began discussing the draft resolution last week. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the Council would likely need at least a few days of talks among members before going to a vote .
Russia has usually been reluctant to impose sanctions on any nation, calling them counterproductive.
Lavrov said a first step - the withdrawal of armed forces from the disputed Heglig oil region - had already been taken.
"It is important to implement other points - cease hostilities and provocations, stop military rhetoric, stop meddling into each other's affairs," Lavrov said.
Karti said on Monday in Moscow that Sudan had armed forces on the border with South Sudan for legitimate protection.
"This is within the borders of Sudan and not outside of Sudan and this is our right, we can deploy our forces anywhere," he told journalists.
"We're not at all preparing ourselves for war."
On Sunday, South Sudan told the United Nations it would pull all police out of a disputed region on its border with Sudan.
(Writing by Lidia Kelly; editing by Andrew Roche)