World leaders call for end to hostilities in Southern Kordofan

18 Jun 2011

World leaders call for end to hostilities in Southern Kordofan

15 June 2011 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today urged all parties involved to put an immediate end to fighting in the northern Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan.

"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the security situation and the escalation of fighting in Southern Kordofan, which has caused the death of many civilians and the displacement of tens of thousands, and put UN staff directly at risk," said a statement from Mr. Ban's office.

More than half a million people throughout Southern Kordofan are reported to have been displaced by the fighting, which broke out between the Sudan Armed Forces and Sudan People's Liberation Army on 6 June.

Although humanitarian agencies have been able to reach some of the affected population, their operations have been hampered by growing insecurity and lack of access to their warehouses, looting of some agency warehouses and the closing of Kadugli's airport on 10 June.

"The Secretary General urges the parties to allow unconditional air and ground access to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and humanitarian agencies to all parts of Southern Kordofan, to provide vital assistance to the affected population, and to ensure the safety and security of United Nations staff," the statement said.

The Secretary-General also welcomed efforts led by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to help the parties resolve their differences through peaceful political means, and encouraged the parties to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

In an audio statement from the White House, United States President Barack Obama also expressed concern at the "crisis unfolding in Sudan, including the fighting in Southern Kordofan and the assaults on innocent civilians".

"There is no military solution. The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan must live up to their responsibilities," Mr. Obama said. "The Government of Sudan must prevent a further escalation of this crisis by ceasing its military actions immediately, including aerial bombardments, forced displacements and campaigns of intimidation."

Adding that negotiations were now underway offering a path to peace, the president said that both sides must agree to end the violence and allow free movement of aid workers and relief supplies to help those in need. The parties must fulfill their commitments under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and resolve their differences peacefully.

"The Sudanese people have come too far, and sacrificed too much, to see their dreams of a better future slip from their grasp," said Mr. Obama. "Now is the time for Sudanese leaders to show the courage and vision that true leadership demands. Now is the time for Sudanese leaders, north and south, to choose peace."