January 25, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has called for international support to end hostilities between the Sudanese army and rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice (photo UN)
“It is crucial that there is outspoken support in the region for a cessation of hostilities and international humanitarian access” to rebel-held areas in the Sudanese border states, Rice said in statements to AFP released on Friday.
The call comes before a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on 25 January to discuss unresolved issues between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as press for talks between Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
She said the Sudanese government must negotiate unconditionally with the rebels to achieve “real security”.
Khartoum so far refuses to engage in talks with the rebel group, saying Juba must first disengage with SPLM-N fighters before talks can be considered. The two sides also failed to implement a humanitarian deal struck in August last year due to disagreements over how to manage food distribution and humanitarian access.
Rice stressed that the African Union (AU) and United Nations should be involved in achieving such a deal.
In accordance with the UN resolution 2046, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N have to negotiate a peaceful settlement on the Two Areas.
SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman says they are ready to sign a cessation of hostilities deal with the government, but asked Khartoum to first allow the access of humanitarian aid to the region.
The rebels say they control 40% of the border with South Sudan in the two states and point out that the buffer zone cannot be operationalised without such agreement.
UN agencies estimate that some 220,000 Sudanese refugees fled to Ethiopia and South Sudan since the eruption of hostilities in Blue Nile and South Kordofan in June 2011.
It is also estimated that over 700,000 people in the two Sudanese states are affected by the severe humanitarian situation.