Press Statement on Sudan and South Sudan Cross-Border Violence
This morning (27 March) the US circulated a draft press statement expressing Council members’ concern over the military clashes in regions bordering Sudan and South Sudan. The draft press statement also demands that all parties cease military operations in the border areas and put an end to the cycle of violence. It seems that this draft text was prompted by yesterday’s clashes in Jau and today’s reports alleging that Sudan had dropped bombs near oilfields in Bentiu in South Sudan. There will be a meeting at the level of deputy permanent representative to discuss the draft text at noon today.
It appears that this draft statement replaces a previous draft text that had been circulated by the US and had been under silence procedure till 9 am this morning. That draft text had included language on the anticipated peace summit between Presidents Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan and Salva Kiir of South Sudan on 3 April. However, following the violence in Jau, Sudan said that it could not go forward with the scheduled presidential summit in Juba which apparently has now been cancelled. With the military clashes over the last day, it appears that some members felt that a more focused press statement on the need to exercise maximum restraint and peacefully address issues between the two countries was warranted.
Among the areas covered in the draft press statement is the need for Sudan and South Sudan to respect the 10 February Memorandum of Understanding on Non-Aggression and Cooperation; to use the Joint Political and Security Mechanism to defuse tensions along the border; and to operationalise the Joint Border and Verification and Monitoring Mechanism. It also urges the parties to resolve their differences through the negotiations facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel.
In addition, the draft press statement refers to the Council’s 6 March presidential statement which expressed grave concern about the repeated incidents of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan, including troop movements, support to proxy forces and aerial bombardments.