London - Sudan's ambassador to Britain said in a TV interview broadcast on Wednesday that South Sudan is "not a real state" and that the newly independent nation lacks democracy and government administrations.
Abdullahi Alazreg told the BBC's HARDtalk programme, when asked why the two countries were unable to agree on the route of a demilitarised buffer zone: "When you say two sides, you are comparing, you know, different things."
"You are comparing our established government with an entity that is in the process of prevailing. Southern Sudan is not a real country, is not a real state. It's a metaphorical state," he said.
"In Southern Sudan...there is this lack of democracy and the lack of government administrations," the Sudanese envoy added.
His comments come less than a week after peace talks between Khartoum and Juba ground to a halt, with the two sides failing to agree on where to set up a demilitarised zone along their contested border.
The talks in Addis Ababa, which are due to resume next week, were the first between the neighbours since they came to the brink of all-out war in April.
The African Union, which is brokering the negotiations, on Monday called on the two sides to take steps to establish peace along their common border, including "an end to hostile propaganda and inflammatory statements".
"The future viability of Sudan and South Sudan lies in balance, as does their stability and that of the whole region," the head of the AU's executive body, Jean Ping, said in statement.
South Sudan peacefully split from the north last July following decades of devastating conflict, but the two sides have remained at loggerheads over a number of unresolved issues, including border demarcation, the future status of Abyei and oil transit fees.