Sudan and South Sudan’s Merging conflicts

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The conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan are increasingly merged. Halting drift toward a Uganda-Sudan proxy war on the Sudan-South Sudan border requires better coordination by regional organisations and more engagement by influential outside powers, notably China and the U.S., including via the UN Security Council. A UN-imposed arms embargo, improved border monitoring, and a UN panel of experts mandated to study the funding of South Sudan’s war are needed.

Neither the 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan’s second civil war nor South Sudan’s 2011 independence brought stability. The wars in the two Sudans began to come together when conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013. The International Crisis Group’s latest report, Sudan and South Sudan’s Merging Conflicts, analyses the cross-border alliances that have formed and argues that strong measures are required by the UN Security Council as well as more strategic engagement by the wider international community in support of mediation efforts by the regional bodies, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU).

The report’s major recommendations include:

  • To better link the stalled Sudan and South Sudan peace processes and ensure developments in one are not undermined by deterioration in the other, the AU, IGAD, and their international partners, in particular the U.S. and China, must increase coordination, perhaps via a senior forum including the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for Sudan and South Sudan, IGAD and key international actors.

  • Employing both pressure and positive inducements, China and the U.S. must deepen their engagement to persuade Uganda to use its military support as leverage to press the South Sudan government to work toward a mediated agreement. China and the U.S. should also press the South Sudan government to end support for the armed opposition in Sudan, and Sudan’s government to remain neutral and constructively engage in the mediation in South Sudan.

  • To slow regional arms flows, prevent further political deterioration, identify potential cessation-of-hostilities violations and advance IGAD’s political dialogue, the UN Security Council should impose an arms embargo on all parties in South Sudan.

  • The Security Council should establish a panel of experts to examine the war’s funding and propose concrete measures within six months for stopping South Sudanese leaders from using oil revenues to fund the war and enable cessation-of-hostilities violations.

  • The Security Council should consider mandating the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) to independently monitor the movement of armed groups and weapons along and across the border and identify sources of weapons and violations of the Cooperation Agreement and Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

“Halting drift toward a Uganda-Sudan proxy war requires finding ways to end cross-border interventions, implement workable border measures and better coordinate mediation so peace can be made for the interconnected wars”, says Comfort Ero, Africa Program Director. “The alternative is more escalation and destabilisation, humanitarian crises and atrocities”.

“New strategies to support regional efforts should begin with more engagement from the UN Security Council, particularly the U.S. and China”, says Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Crisis Group President & CEO. “Both pressure and more positive inducements are needed to change the calculations in Kampala, Khartoum and Juba”.

Executive Summary | Full Report PDF

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