News

US: Sudan and South Sudan Want to Avoid 'All-Out War'

Map of Sudan and South Sudan
Map of Sudan and South Sudan

The United States says Sudan and South Sudan want to find a way to avoid "all-out war," following violence across their border.  The two countries have been unable to resolve disputes over borders, oil and citizenship issues stemming from the south's independence last July.

After talks with officials from both governments, U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman says the two sides realize how close they are to a resumption of full-scale war, and how costly that would be.

"In the discussions I have had in both Khartoum and Juba, I can say with confidence that virtually everyone I have talked to has said, 'Look, we don't want to go to all-out war with the other.  We need to find a way out,'" said Lyman.

But Lyman says there remain serious disagreements about what is needed to end the conflict.

"It's not going to be easy," he said. "Emotions are running very, very high.  But I think the bottom line here, the basic line is that both countries are arguing about security."

Months of hostility over oil pipeline and port fees peaked last week when South Sudan fighters took control of the key oil town of Heglig.

Speaking to reporters by telephone from Khartoum, Lyman says South Sudan was surprised by international condemnation of its move because officials in Juba maintain they have always claimed Heglig.  Lyman says that was not apparent in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 21 years of fighting and led to southern independence.  

"So people did assume, as we did, that there was at least, if not an officially-recognized-by-both-sides border, there was a border which was crossed," he said. "They don't see it that way.  But the point - and they have now acknowledged this - [is] that you don't settle disputed border areas by occupying them."

Before withdrawing from Heglig, Lyman says South Sudan wants assurances that there will be no more attacks by Sudanese-backed militias or Sudanese bombing raids as well as the withdrawal of northern troops from the town of Abyei.

Lyman says Khartoum's patience over the occupation of Heglig appears to be growing thin, with President Omar al-Bashir's vow on Thursday to teach the south "a lesson by force."

Part of the instability along the border is continuing violence in the provinces of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where many people fought alongside the south for independence from Khartoum, but remain part of Sudan.

"Across that border, there has been support for proxies and there is spillover from the Southern Kordofan/Blue Nile wars," said Lyman. "And that is creating a series of clashes and conflicts across the border as each tries to secure its own interests as they see them along that border."

Humanitarian officials say widespread hunger in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile is worsening.  The African Union, Arab League and United Nations have a joint proposal to allow aid shipments to the region.

Lyman says Khartoum agrees in principle to the plan, and that he is pushing hard to overcome remaining questions about how parts of the proposal would be carried out.

"I am also hoping that with the announcement of a humanitarian program, we will also almost by default get a cessation of hostilities in that area, and that hopefully creates a better atmosphere for peace," he said.

Lyman says international mediators are working with both governments to return to a previously agreed on demilitarized and monitored 20-kilometer buffer zone to settle on a final border between them.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: almoros
April 20, 2012 9:17 AM
The unreliable UN and the world!

by: Akol Liai Mager
April 19, 2012 6:52 PM
South Sudan government must dispatch its foreign Minister to New York's Un Headquarters with the Map of Sudan 1956 and those several Khartoum-created maps and would clearly explain them to the UNSC members and the rests.
Sudan's 1956 border was not created, nor agreed by Southern Sudanese, but yet we stand by it as a binding piece of paper. Also, Hague's ruling in Abyei Case did mean the demarcation of the border between North and the South, but between Abyei and its neigbouring States.

by: Anyangaliec
April 19, 2012 6:22 PM
South Sudan is very much eager to avoid an all out war, but, on the other hand,the puppets in Northern Sudan are very much willing to escalates it into an all out war by any means. And I hope the world could see that!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
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 Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to 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 Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
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 US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
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 Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
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.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs