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UN Council rebukes Sudan, South Sudan for clashes

By on March 8, 2012
Salva Kiir et Omar El Béchir

The U.N. Security Council reprimanded Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday for repeated cross-border clashes that were fueling tensions over oil exports and territory disputes and had become “a serious threat to international peace and security.”

South Sudan declared independence last year after voting overwhelmingly for secession in a referendum, part of a 2005 peace deal to end decades of civil war. But the peace remains uneasy at best, with north and south accusing each other of waging proxy wars in states along their ill-defined frontier.

The council expressed in a statement “grave concern about reports of repeated incidents of cross-border violence … including troop movements, support to proxy forces, and aerial bombardments, and views the situation as a serious threat to international peace and security.”

The statement came after the two countries complained to the U.N. Security Council about each other. The ambassadors to the United Nations for Sudan and South Sudan both denied on Tuesday any wrongdoing.

The Security Council demanded “that the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan take no action that would undermine the security and stability of the other, including through any direct or indirect form of support to armed groups in the other’s territory.”

North and south separated without agreeing how much the landlocked south, which inherited most of the pre-split Sudan’s known oil reserves, should pay to use oil pipelines, processing facilities and a port in the north.

South Sudan’s government in Juba shut down its 350,000 barrel-per-day oil production in January after the north seized more than $800 million of the south’s oil and built a tie-in pipeline to divert it through refineries in Khartoum.


The two countries last month signed a pact agreeing to “respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, rejection of the use of force, equality and mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence.”

Then last week South Sudan accused Sudan of bombing an oil well. Sudan denied responsibility. The two governments met in Ethiopia on Tuesday to try to break the deadlock over oil transit fees.

“The Security Council regards the settlement of oil and financial arrangements between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan as a critical element of the two countries’ security, stability and prosperity as viable states,” the statement said.

“The Council affirms that any unilateral action related to the oil sector is detrimental to the security, stability, and prosperity of both states.”

The U.N. Security Council also said there was a grave urgency for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the Sudanese border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting has been raging for months between the Sudanese army and rebels who want to topple the Khartoum government.

The fighting in recent months has forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, according to the United Nations.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, said on Tuesday the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile was “very normal.”


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