U.S. concerned about situation in Sudan's South Kordofan state

10:39, June 15, 2011      

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The United States on Tuesday expressed its concern about the "rapid and significant deterioration" in the security and humanitarian situation in South Kordofan state of Sudan.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the Sudanese government has denied humanitarian flights as well as permission to land in Kadugli, the state's capital, for nearly one week.

He noted that road blocks manned by Sudanese Armed Forces and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army are obstructing access by land, and facilities used by the World Food Program and the World Health Organization in Kadugli have been looted.

"We deplore these acts and call on the parties to immediately allow full and unfettered access for aid workers to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to tend the thousands of people displaced from their homes and made vulnerable by this renewed conflict," he told reporters at a regular news briefing.

He said, "We're equally concerned by reports indicating intensified aerial bombings in the mountainous areas to the south and west of Kadugli and a build-up of military forces in the area. The United States condemns any escalation of the current crisis."

South Kordofan, which lies on the border between the north and south of Sudan, has become a particular point of tension between Khartoum and South Sudan as the latter is bracing itself for formal independence on July 9.

Toner warned that the United States will not move forward on the roadmap to normalization of relations "if Sudan chooses to escalate further the situation and pursue a military solution to the future status of Abyei and South Kordofan."

The oil-rich South Kordofan state was a war scene in Sudan's two-decades civil war. In addition, the state serves as a commercial gateway and social bond between the north and south.

The U.S. promised normalized relations with Sudan in return for its full compliance in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 to end the two-decades civil war between the north and south.

Under the agreement, the south voted in a January referendum to break away from the north. However, the two sides have a number of thorny issues to be ironed out, including the status of the oil- rich Abyei region, border demarcation, oil revenue division, external debts and citizenship.

The U.S. maintains sanctions on Sudan and puts the largest African country on its State Sponsor of Terrorism list.

Source: Xinhua
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