News / Africa

    Southern Kordofan Fighting Disrupts Sudan Talks in Addis Ababa

    Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) speaks with African leaders during the Africa Panel high-level talks in Addis Ababa, June 12, 2011
    Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) speaks with African leaders during the Africa Panel high-level talks in Addis Ababa, June 12, 2011

    Talks on the future of a divided Sudan have been disrupted by the latest escalation of hostilities in the country's Southern Kordofan state. An urgent African Union-United Nations mission is heading Thursday to Southern Kordofan in an attempt to broker a ceasefire.

    Former South African President and chief AU Mediator Thabo Mbeki, along with U.N. Special Envoy to Sudan Haile Menkerios will lead the hastily-arranged mission. The initiative is aimed at stopping more than a week of clashes between north Sudan army troops and fighters aligned with the south's Sudan People's Liberation Army [SPLA].

    Top southern official Yasir Arman tells VOA he will accompany the mission for talks with Abdul Aziz, who commands SPLA forces in the north.

    "President Mbeki and Haile Menkerios, the representative of the secretary general, together with the SPLM north leaders will be going to meet commander Abdul Aziz and we will discuss matters related to security and political arrangements in the two areas and in the North in general," said Arman.

    The South Kordofan fighting disrupted a fourth day of north-south talks in Addis Ababa on the future of the disputed Abyei border region.  The sides are said to be close to a deal calling for the demilitarization of Abyei and deployment of a U.N.-mandated peacekeeping force.

    Ethiopia reportedly is ready to send 1,500 peacekeepers to patrol the border, and the U.N. Security Council is said to be standing by to authorize the force once a deal is reached.

    Diplomats and Southern Sudanese negotiators warned Wednesday, though, that the talks could collapse over the surge of violence in South Kordofan that has displaced an estimated 60,000 people.

    A statement issued Wednesday by the U.N. humanitarian affairs office told of a “growing sense of panic” among some of the displaced populations who find themselves trapped by the ongoing violence and ethnic fault lines.

    Deng Alor, minister of regional cooperation in the South Sudan government, said the reported aerial bombardments and killings of the past few days have infuriated SPLA forces in the north to the point where they may refuse the Mbeki-Menkerios ceasefire appeal.

    "They are asking for a ceasefire, we are saying no, there are political issues that need to be addressed first, before you come and discuss ceasefire, even before ceasefire and security arrangements there are issues connected with the SPLA in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, their integration into the Sudanese Army," said Alor. "These things must precede the ceasefire."

    South Kordofan will be north of the border when the south breaks away from Khartoum’s rule on July 9. It contains most of the oil reserves that will be under Khartoum’s control, though nearly three quarters of Sudan’s oil reserves are in the south.

    But much of the region’s population remain sympathetic to the southern rebels who fought for independence from Khartoum. An estimated 40,000 SPLA soldiers are based there. Alor said the fate of those soldiers must take precedence over a ceasefire.  

    "It’s unfortunate people are dying, but it’s a situation created by [Sudanese President] Bashir," said Alor. "Bashir wanted to disarm 40,000 troops. He asked us to disarm them, more than 40,000 from Blue Nile, and hand them over to him. We told him there is no way we can disarm more than 40,000 troops."

    U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged the Khartoum government to cease its military actions immediately. In a sign of growing U.S. concern about the South Kordofan violence, the president broadcast a message urging both sides to “live up to their responsibilities” to avoid a return to civil war.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora