Ban notes South Sudan’s announcement on withdrawal, urges talks

Well casings lined up beneath the Heglig oil drilling rig in Sudan. Photo: UNEP

20 April 2012 – Taking note of South Sudan’s announcement that it is withdrawing from the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the Governments of both countries to resume negotiations immediately under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Panel to resolve their outstanding differences.

He “calls upon both Governments to activate the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism to help ensure the security of their common border,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

“Mr. Ban also reiterates his call on the Government of Sudan to stop the bombing of South Sudanese territory and urges both Governments to cease their support to each other’s rebel groups,” the statement added.

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. However, the peace between the two countries has been threatened recently by clashes along their common border and outstanding post-independence issues that have yet to be resolved.

The statement noted that all measures have been taken to ensure that monitors serving with the peacekeeping mission known as the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) are ready to be deployed.

The Security Council established UNISFA in 2011, to serve in the contested area of Abyei, following an outbreak of violence after Sudanese troops took control of the area, displacing tens of thousands of people in the weeks before South Sudan became an independent State after seceding from Sudan.

Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday, the UN chief said “the last thing the people of these two countries need is another war.”


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