The crisis that began in the state of Southern Kordofan in June has now spread to Blue Nile state.
“I am concerned about the fact that the armed conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) and the Government in Khartoum has now spread to new areas. The civilian population must be protected, and the use of aerial bombardments against non-military targets is unacceptable. I urge both parties to enter into negotiations immediately,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile are both in Sudan, but they have strong ties across the border to South Sudan. The UN estimates that more than 250 000 people have been driven from their homes in the two states.
The Sudanese authorities will not allow either the UN or international aid organisations access to the conflict-affected areas. There is therefore no third party there who can provide objective information on the situation on the ground.
“I urge the Sudanese authorities to allow the UN immediate access. It is vital that the UN is able to assess the needs and distribute emergency relief to the affected areas. Sudan has a duty to ensure that humanitarian actors are given free and unimpeded access,” said Mr Støre.
South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July. The process leading to self-determination was in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. In a letter to the UN Security Council, the Government in Khartoum has accused South Sudan of supporting the rebels in Southern Kordofan.
“I am worried about the turn taken in relations between Sudan and South Sudan during the past few months. We expect both states to respect each other’s sovereignty,” said the Foreign Minister.
Negotiations between the authorities in Khartoum and Juba on relations between the two states did not result in binding agreements in important areas before South Sudan became an independent state. There is still disagreement as to the border between the two countries, the transport of oil from South Sudan to Port Sudan in Sudan, and how to settle the currency issue.