"Sudan and South Sudan: Clashes on the border destabilize a fragile peace", ICRtoP
Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan appear to be de-escalating following a week of heightened conflict on the border, as leaders from both countries worked to prevent further violence and pledged a commitment to avoid all-out war. Allegations of incitement were exchanged on 27 March following attacks on both territories which broke out on 26 March. South Sudan accused Sudan of airstrikes in the Unity St ate, and consequently claimed control of the Sudanese oil-producing town of Heglig. The violence threatened to escalate quickly given ongoing disputes between the two countries on outstanding issues such as oil production and the border regions.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had previously invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to a summit in the South Sudan capital Juba to be held on 3 April. The meeting aimed to resolve these unresolved issues between the two countries; however, following the air and land strikes President al-Bashir suspended his participation in the summit.
On 26 March Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on both countries to fully respect and implement agreements regarding border issues. This was followed by a Security Council press statement on March 27 calling on all parties to exercise maximum restraint. The African Union similarly urged the countries to resume talks in a statement on 27 March, noting that border issues would only be resolved through peaceful means. Following an agreement on 28 March, Sudanese and South Sudanese parties were set to meet in Ethiopia on 31 March - for talks mediated by the African Union and chief mediator Thabo Mbeki.
1. Security Council Press Statement on Sudan and South Sudan
UN Security Council
27 March 2012
(…) The members of the Security Council are deeply alarmed by the military clashes in the region bordering Sudan and South Sudan, which threaten to precipitate a resumption of conflict between the two countries, worsen the humanitarian situation and lead to further civilian casualties.
The members of the Security Council call upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to exercise maximum restraint and sustain purposeful dialogue in order to address peacefully the issues that are fuelling the mistrust between the two countries, including oil issues, violence in the border region, citizenship and Abyei. The members of the Security Council call upon Sudan and South Sudan to respect the letter and spirit of their 10 February Memorandum of Understanding on Non-Aggression and Cooperation. (…)
The members of the Security Council (…) demand that all parties cease military operations in the border areas and put an end to the cycle of violence, and 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. The members of the Security Council condemn actions by any armed group aimed at the forced overthrow of the Government of either Sudan or South Sudan. The members of the Security Council affirm their strong commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Sudan and South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council reiterate the grave urgency of delivering humanitarian aid, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and guiding principles of emergency humanitarian assistance, in order to avert a worsening of the serious crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, Sudan.
The members of the Security Council urge Sudan and South Sudan to continue working within the context of the negotiations carried out under the auspices of the African Union High level Implementation Panel, and encourage continued partnership with the United Nations and other key international stakeholders in this regard.