News

US Officials Press for Sudan-South Sudan Talks

A policeman walks past the smouldering remains of a market in Rubkona near Bentiu in South Sudan, April 23, 2012.
A policeman walks past the smouldering remains of a market in Rubkona near Bentiu in South Sudan, April 23, 2012.
Michael Bowman

The simmering conflict between Sudan and South Sudan has yet to escalate into full-scale war, but it threatens to deepen a humanitarian crisis that is already bringing hunger and misery to hundreds of thousands of people along the two countries’ border, according to U.S. officials who testified on Capitol Hill Thursday.  

Can a devastating war be averted between Sudan and South Sudan?  That was the top question asked by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Republican Representative Christopher Smith:

“As we meet here today, the two countries move ever-closer to all-out war," said Smith. "And some strategy to avert this eventuality must be devised soon, if it has not already been created.”

The hope and optimism that prevailed last year, when South Sudan became the world’s newest country, has given way to an economically crippling oil dispute, bombing campaigns, cross-border skirmishes, and accusations and counter accusations between Juba and Khartoum.

U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman said the situation, while dire, is not yet a full-scale war.  He stressed the need for a resumption of negotiations, saying that the two countries have much to address.  But Lyman told the committee that the task is complicated by a rebel conflict in Sudan’s southernmost regions that has displaced many civilians and cut off their access to food.

“The situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile - there will be no security on the border until that situation is addressed," said Lyman. "It is a political problem; it is also a tremendous humanitarian problem.  And we have since last year been raising the issue of a looming humanitarian crisis in these areas.”

Also testifying before the committee was Nancy Lindborg of the U.S. Agency for International Development, who said a bad situation could grow far worse.

“A direct confrontation between the south and the north would absolutely further derail the ability to make progress on the humanitarian situation, whether in the South or Darfur, or elsewhere," said Lindborg. "Unfortunately, we are already seeing many [aid] donors having to shift their resources from a development agenda to a humanitarian agenda, so we are at risk of losing a lot of that progress.”

Lindborg said the oil dispute between South Sudan, which produces the commodity, and Sudan, through which it is transported for distribution, will stunt development and harm ordinary citizens.

“The decision to halt oil production will have critical impact on the people of South Sudan," she said. "That was 98 percent of the government revenue, and it has prompted an austerity budget that means it will be impossible for South Sudan to fund some of its core operations, including to sustain some of the really important progress that has been made in recent years in improving school attendance, access to clean water, health.”

Special envoy Lyman said it is up to the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan to settle their differences and forge a peaceful coexistence.  That task might be aided by what he sees as an increasingly unified international community pushing the two countries to make progress at the negotiating table.

“The U.N. Security Council is now more unified than it has been on Sudan," he said. "And with the African Union communique, the Arab League coming in along the same lines and the Security Council coming in along the same lines, we hope that will strengthen the panel’s political weight, if you will, as they bring these parties to the table.”

Lyman said he hopes the two countries will begin to address border concerns in coming weeks, and that leaders will eventually hold a summit to address major issues like oil production.

The African Union has threatened to impose binding rulings on Sudan and South Sudan, if the countries fail to reach agreements on their own.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: scott
April 26, 2012 6:51 PM
I have told before, the international comunity have to press the both side of sudan. especialy the the super power country that have interests in it. otherwise, on one will make the compromise to prevent the all - out war! we can't not count on the politician the with full mouth of baloney! do something,pls

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs