UN Security Council Considers Sanctions to Pressure Sudan, South Sudan

Posted April 18th, 2012 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations Security Council says it is committed to making “every effort” to get Sudan and South Sudan to halt conflict and return to negotiations.

After a closed briefing Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the Security Council discussed potential sanctions to pressure the two countries to address a range of issues.

“Council members reiterated their demand for a complete, immediate and unconditional end to all fighting, the withdrawal of the SPLA (South Sudanese forces) from Heglig and an end to Sudanese armed forces' aerial bombardment, an end to repeated incidents of cross-border violence, and (an end) to support by both sides to proxies in each other's country.”

Rice said unresolved issues remain from a comprehensive peace agreement, nine months after South Sudan's independence.

“They have no agreement on oil, they have no agreement on their border, they have no agreement on citizenship, they have no agreement on (the disputed region of) Abyei and indeed these were issues that were meant to be resolved before independence.”

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki called the situation “very unfortunate” but said there is no problem between Sudan and South Sudan “that cannot be resolved through negotiations.”

He told VOA the two countries have created a problem not only for themselves, but also for the region and the continent.

Mr. Mbeki heads an African Union mediation panel and briefed the Security Council on Tuesday.

The AU expressed grave concern at what it called the “prevailing logic of war” between Sudan and South Sudan. It called for the two sides to take immediate steps to reduce tensions, and urged them to adopt a non-binding centerline for the border.

The U.S. State Department says Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan, is due to hold talks with Sudanese officials on ways to ease tensions, after a similar meeting earlier this week with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.