The United Nations Security Council on Thursday welcomed the withdrawal of the military of Sudan and South Sudan from the disputed Abyei area. But the council said full withdrawal must include other forces reportedly stationed by Sudan in that oil-rich region.
The 15-member Security Council held a private meeting with U.N. officials and then issued a statement welcoming the withdrawal of Sudanese and South Sudanese forces from the Abyei area along the countries’ border.
The statement was read by Security Council’s president, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev of Azerbaijan.
“Members of council emphasized that full withdrawal must include police forces, including oil police. Members of the council welcomed the resumption of talks between Sudan and South Sudan on 29 May 2012 in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel. Members of the council encouraged both parties to keep momentum toward meeting all outstanding obligations under resolution 2046,” Mehdiyev said.
Resolution 2046, adopted by the Security Council on May 2, condemns the cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan, and calls on both countries to end their fighting, withdraw their forces and begin talks. Those negotiations began this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with initial reports of slow progress.
United States Ambassador Susan Rice said U.N. officials had presented a mixed report to the Security Council, indicating some progress. "Certainly," she told reporters, "we are in a better place now, a month after the adoption of resolution 2046 than we were just prior to its adoption when circumstances were indeed extremely dire."
At the same time, Rice expressed concern about what she called the grave humanitarian situation in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces. The condition of refugees crossing the border, she said, has been alarming.
“Those are the healthy ones, comparatively, that are able to make it out. And what we are seeing in terms of the most dire acute malnutrition among children, the numbers are skyrocketing. And this is indeed an exceedingly worrisome situation. There has been no progress in terms of the government of Sudan allowing open humanitarian access, including into rebel areas,” Rice said.
Rice warned that the situation along the border between Sudan and South Sudan is precarious, and she called on the two countries to activate the Joint Border Verification Monitoring Mission.