News / Africa

US Sudan Envoy Says Khartoum’s Belligerence Threatens North-South Talks

Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti (R) speaks during a joint news conference with newly appointed U.S. special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman, in Khartoum, April 6, 2011
Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti (R) speaks during a joint news conference with newly appointed U.S. special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman, in Khartoum, April 6, 2011

The U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan says Khartoum’s belligerent actions are threatening delicate negotiations on border issues and revenue sharing ahead of the South’s independence next month. Our correspondent in Addis Ababa reports hopes are rising for an easing of tension as diplomatic activity intensifies over the next few days.

Tens of thousands of people are reported fleeing heavy fighting along the undefined border between north and south Sudan. Southern officials Friday accused Khartoum’s military of bombing a border village, and the United Nations told of rapidly deteriorating conditions in South Kordofan State, with civilians trapped between warring factions.

A U.N. spokesman estimates 146,000 people have been forced to flee since Sudanese army troops captured the main town in the disputed Abyei region last month.

An African Union (AU) High Level Panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki is shuttling between capitals in an attempt to ease rising tensions. He met Thursday in Khartoum with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and flew Friday to Juba for talks with Southern leader Salva Kiir.

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman says the military takeover of Abyei has enormously complicated negotiations on sensitive issues hanging over the South’s July 9th independence. He told VOA much of the talk is focused on how to reverse the Abyei takeover so talks on other issues could resume.

"The government in Khartoum seems to have taken a more belligerent and proactive military approach to the situation, perhaps thinking this gives them some advantages in the negotiations, first by the military takeover in Abyei and then by sending forces into South Kordofan," said Lyman. "I’m not sure why the government chose in the last few weeks to turn to this kind of a policy, but it is very, very threatening to the whole negotiating process."

Diplomatic efforts are due to be ratcheted up a notch in coming days. AU Panel chief Mbeki is reported to be returning to Addis Ababa, which has served as a neutral site for north-south negotiations.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also due in the Ethiopian capital Monday, and diplomats involved in the arrangements say she would meet Mr. Mbeki and senior officials, possibly including Sudanese Vice-President Osman Ali Taha and Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir.

Special Envoy Lyman acknowledged Secretary Clinton’s deep concern about events in Sudan and confirmed she would hold talks on the subject. But he said details of her schedule have not been finalized.

"I can’t predict what will be the outcome," he said. "Her visit is very important as are other discussions going on. We’ll have to see how it works out in the next few days."

Despite the current flare up, the veteran U.S. diplomat expressed cautious optimism that northern and southern leaders would reach a peaceful settlement of their disputes before the July 9th independence day. He said, “of course they can work it out, because both sides realize that if they really go back to war, they’re going to suffer greatly”.

The south’s independence is one of the final planks of a 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil war between the Arab-dominated north and the ethnically black south.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs