On Violence in Southern Kordofan and Negotiations Between Sudan and South Sudan

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 22, 2012

The United States is alarmed by the threat of greater violence between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Northern Sector (SPLM-N) in Southern Kordofan State. Any such fighting will only worsen the humanitarian crisis there and lead to more civilian casualties. The conflict in Southern Kordofan and neighboring Blue Nile is also fuelling mistrust between Sudan and South Sudan and the United States is deeply concerned about the potential for a resumption of direct conflict between the North and South. Rather than risk the potential for war, both countries should prepare in good faith for the summit planned for early April between President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan.

The United States urgently calls on the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N to agree on a cessation of hostilities. We reiterate our demand that the SAF end aerial bombardments of civilian areas and immediately allow unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. We also demand that South Sudan end any military support for the SPLM-N and work with the Government of Sudan on ways jointly to bring peace to the border region. We hope that the upcoming summit will focus on this objective along with issues such as oil and nationalities. We strongly condemn all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and demand that those responsible be held accountable for their actions.

The renewed fighting in North Darfur among SAF, rebel groups, and paramilitary forces further deepens the crisis in that region and threatens the progress made since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in July 2011. We are deeply concerned about the displacement of civilians from their home areas. We urge the Government of Sudan, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur, and the newly established Darfur Regional Authority to address this situation urgently.

PRN: 2012/424