UN council threatens Sudan, S.Sudan with sanctions
Wed May 2, 2012 5:12pm GMT
* UN council resolution passed with support of China, Russia
* China says cautious about use and threat of sanctions
* Sudan, South Sudan blame each other for conflict (Adds details throughout)
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, May 2 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council threatened Sudan
and South Sudan with sanctions on Wednesday if the former civil war foes
fail to halt an escalating conflict and resume talks within two weeks on a
string of disputes over oil revenues and border demarcation.
The 15-member panel unanimously approved a resolution after weeks of border
fighting between the African neighbors that have raised fears Khartoum and
Juba, which split when the south seceded last year, could launch an all-out
"The fighting must stop, and stop now," U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations Susan Rice told the council.
China, which has close trade relations with both countries, and Russia were
reluctant to support the threat of sanctions against Sudan and South Sudan,
but did so because the African Union had requested a legally binding
The AU asked for backing from the U.N. Security Council for demands made by
its Peace and Security Council last week for Sudan and South Sudan to cease
hostilities, withdraw troops from disputed areas and resume talks within two
weeks with the aim of resolving all outstanding disputes.
"We are always very cautious about the use and threat of sanctions," China's
U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told the council. "China has all along maintained
that African issues should be settled by the Africans in African ways."
Beijing has traditionally acted as Sudan's protector on the council and for
years has shielded it from U.S. and European calls for sanctions due to its
handling of conflicts in its western Darfur region and elsewhere in the
The resolution passed on Wednesday threatens both Sudan and South Sudan with
"additional measures" under Article 41 of the U.N. charter, which allows the
council to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on countries that ignore
"The arsenal of political and diplomatic instruments for normalizing the
situation has nowhere been exhausted," Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly
Churkin told the council. "We consider sanctions as an extreme measure."
He added that sanctions should not be used in relation to conflicts in the
Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting has been
raging for months between Sudan's army and rebels who want to topple to
Distrust runs deep between Sudan and South Sudan, who are at loggerheads
over the position of their border, how much the landlocked south should pay
to transport its oil through Sudan, and the division of national debt, among
Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman made clear to the council
that Khartoum was disappointed with the approved resolution.
"It is notable that the resolution has disregarded the continuous aggression
by South Sudan against Sudan," Osman told the council.
"Peace ... will only be achieved through halting all forms of support and
sheltering of proxy rebel and armed groups espoused by the South Sudan," he
South Sudan's Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol told the council
that Juba would comply with the resolution.
"We appeal to the United Nations and its member states to urgently mobilize
humanitarian assistance for the population affected by Sudan's continuous
aerial bombardment and ground incursions in northern states of South Sudan,"
Sudan denied launching air strikes but said its ground forces had attacked
southern artillery positions that had fired on the north. Clashes along the
ill-defined border led to a standoff over the Heglig oil field after it was
seized last month by troops from South Sudan.
Sudan said earlier on Wednesday the Heglig oilfield had been repaired and
had started pumping oil again. (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
Sudan says agrees in principle to AU peace roadmap
Wed May 2, 2012 5:08pm GMT
KHARTOUM May 2 (Reuters) - Sudan's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it had
agreed "in principle" with a seven-point roadmap drafted by the African
Union to end its festering conflict with neighbouring South Sudan.
In a statement, it said Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti had sent a letter
voicing Khartoum's tentative assent to African Union Commission chief Jean
Ping. No details were given.
The African Union (AU) demanded on April 24 that Sudan and South Sudan
resume talks within two weeks, warning both it would issue its own binding
rulings if they failed to strike deals on a litany of disputes within three
The AU has spearheaded mediation efforts between the two adversaries in the
past with the backing of the United Nations, the United States and other
South Sudan committed to the AU roadmap last month, while Sudan had yet to
give an official response.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday
that threatens Sudan and South Sudan with sanctions if the African
neighbours fail to halt their conflict and resume negotiations within two
The AU roadmap urges both sides to cease hostilities within 48 hours and
calls for the "unconditional" withdrawal of troops from contested regions,
an end to support for rebel groups against the other state and to hostile
propaganda in the media.
It gave the two sides two weeks to resume negotiations on a range of
disputes including oil, the status of disputed zones and the demarcation of
their porous frontier.
While both have stopped short of waging all-out war over their string of
disputes, there have been persistent clashes in border areas, with both
sides calling the other the aggressor.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry accused South Sudan of launching several
attacks over the past week on its territory.
It said the South Sudan army, the SPLA, had occupied a border village in
Bahr al-Arab as well as the disputed areas of Kafn Dubai and Kafya Kenji.
South Sudan also accused Sudan's army of attacking positions inside its
territory with air and ground forces this week.
Sudan and South Sudan are former civil war foes that split up when the south
seceded and became independent last year. (Editing by David Clarke and Mark
C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
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Received on Wed May 02 2012 - 16:47:25 EDT