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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid