AU calls for ceasefire in latest Sudan spat

March 28, 2012 2:20 pm
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AU calls for ceasefire in latest Sudan spat/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – The chairman of the African Union Commission Jean Ping has warned Sudan and South Sudan that military means can never provide a long‐term answer to the bilateral issues affecting the relations of the two nations.

In a statement, Ping urged the neighbouring countries to solve disputes over border territories only through peaceful means.

He urgently called on the two states to keenly respect a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in February.

“The chairperson urgently calls on the two states to scrupulously respect the Memorandum of Understanding on Non‐Aggression and Cooperation signed on 10 February 2012, and underlines the imperative of de‐escalating the situation, including withdrawing their forces 10km from the borderline, establishing the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission (JBVMM) and halting any support to rebel forces operating in the territories of the other country.”

The MoU underscores the imperatives of de‐escalating the situation, including withdrawing their forces 10km from the borderline.

Ping called on the two nations to create an environment conducive to the holding of the planned summit between the two presidents and the continuation of the post‐secession negotiations.

Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has postponed talks with his southern counterpart Salva Kiir scheduled for April 3, after border clashes broke out on Monday.

Sudan’s army has been fighting South Sudan’s armed forces on the Sudanese side of their shared border since Monday but Khartoum wants no return to war, the country’s security chief told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We hope this will be no full war,” Mohammed Atta al-Moula, head of Sudan’s national security and intelligence services, said. “We have no intentions beyond liberating our (occupied) land.”

The AU welcomed the commitment of both countries to send senior delegations to the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa this week, supported by the AU High‐Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

Ping has asked the Joint Political and Security Mechanism and the AU High‐Level Implementation Panel to immediately launch an investigation into the fighting that has escalated in the last two days.

“The JPSM should then meet to allow the two countries to resolve issues of concern in a peaceful manner. The AU remains committed, through the AUHIP, to helping the two countries reach an agreement on the post‐secession issues, on the basis of the agreed principle of two viable states living in peace side by side,” the statement said.

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