October 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The United Special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman urged Khartoum to allow "credible" international organizations to reach the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile in order to assess the humanitarian situation.
- U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman (AFP)
In his meeting with the foreign ministry undersecretary Rahma Mohammed Osman, Lyman expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in the border region of Abyei which is source of dispute with the newly established state of South Sudan.
The US official said that the issue of Abyei is political rather than humanitarian adding that he regrets that the meetings on security issues between North and South Sudan are being postponed.
In June and August of this year fighting broke out between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and forces from Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in the two border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Both sides traded accusations over who started the fighting.
The Sudanese government vowed to crush the rebellion and bring the SPLM-N leaders to justice.
Both border states are home to large populations which sided with South Sudan during decades of civil war and found themselves in north Sudan after the South became independent on July 9.
In another hotspot, Abyei, a U.N. mission is monitoring a ceasefire after Khartoum took the disputed region bordering South Kordofan by force in May following an attack of the southern army on a military convoy.
The foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obaid Marawih said that Osman blamed the SPLM-N for the situation for failing to withdraw its forces from South Kordofan and Blue Nile per the 2005 peace agreement.
Osman called on the international community to focus its efforts towards the withdrawal of SPLM-N troops if it is serious in resolving the conflict, stressing that the Sudanese government will not accept the existence of a foreign army within its territory and will not allow the party to have armed militias.
He said the government had made several attempts to address the matter of disarming the SPLM in these two states but that the latter refused to.
The Sudanese official accused the international community of using the humanitarian situation to put more pressure on Khartoum rather than the party which triggered the fighting.