Sudan: Unwavering will to make peace is needed

Relations between the Sudan and South Sudan remain tense. At a meeting in Berlin on 11 June, Foreign Minister Westerwelle and his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti discussed how to advance the peace process between the two countries. The German Government expected both sides to “negotiate constructively and with an unwavering will to make peace”, Westerwelle said after his talks with Karti.

Westerwelle welcomed the fact that the Sudan and South Sudan had resumed negotiations on a lasting peace settlement in late May. The African Union (AU) is overseeing the negotiations, under the leadership of former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Tensions between the two countries escalated in April, in response to which the AU developed a peace plan; on 2 May the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2064 calling for the plan’s implementation.

Dangers to the whole region

After meeting with Karti, Foreign Minister Westerwelle called the withdrawal of both Sudanese and South Sudanese troops from the disputed border region of Abyei in late May “an important first step”. He added, however, that the fragile situation in Abyei as well as in the South Kordofan region remained cause for concern. Escalation would endanger the entire region. Westerwelle said Germany was working to stabilize the situation and thus supported UNMISS, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. He further pointed to the difficult security and humanitarian conditions in the Darfur region. Germany also participates in UNAMID, the joint UN-African Union mission there.

Crises and conflicts have plagued Sudan for decades. A civil war between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, the largest rebel faction in South Sudan, began in 1982 and continued to rage until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 ended it. The Agreement’s stipulations included a referendum on South Sudanese independence. Following successful voting, South Sudan declared independence on 9 July 2011. But pervasive tensions and unresolved issues continue to trouble relations between the two countries; these include the division of oil reserves and the precise location of the border between north and south. Armed conflicts between the two sides have flared up repeatedly in recent months.

Click here for more information about developments in the Sudan and South Sudan and their context.

Last updated 11.06.2012

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