Sudan: the fighting has to end

The situation in the border area between the Sudan and South Sudan remains tense. On 2 May, the United Nations Security Council condemned the continuing violent conflicts on the border between the Sudan and South Sudan. It called on both sides to end all fighting immediately and to pull back their troops. In a unanimous resolution, the Security Council said that the previously agreed border security mechanisms must be activated and talks resumed.

The Security Council laid down an exact schedule for both parties: to end hostilities within 48 hours, to activate border security mechanisms within one week, to resume negotiations on border issues and the distribution of oil resources. Both countries face sanctions if these conditions are not met.

On 23 April, Foreign Minister Westerwelle called for an “immediate end to all hostilities in border areas”. All open border issues, including the dispute over the Heglig oil field, had to be resolved “exclusively through dialogue”. Also on 23 April, the Regional Director for Africa at the Federal Foreign Office, Walter Lindner, travelled to the Sudanese capital Khartoum to support a peaceful settlement of the conflict between the Sudan and South Sudan.

Especially in the oil-rich region around the town of Heglig, renewed fighting had broken out during the last few weeks between the Sudan and South Sudan, which only last year became independent. South Sudanese troops occupied Heglig, while the Sudanese army launched air strikes against South Sudanese territory. The air strikes continued even after South Sudan withdrew from Heglig.

The Sudan at the United Nations

Over the past weeks, the United Nations had dealt several times with the tensions between the Sudan and South Sudan. In a presidential statement issued on 12 April, the UN Security Council demanded a “complete, immediate, and unconditional end to all fighting”.

On 24 April, the Security Council was briefed on the situation by the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, and the head of UN peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous.

South Sudan gained its independence from the Sudan last July and became the 193rd country to be admitted to the United Nations. In 2005, a peace agreement ended a decades-long civil war in the country. However, certain key issues remain unresolved, such as how to divide up oil revenue between the two countries and the exact demarcation of the border.

Last updated 03.05.2012

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