AU urges cessation of hostilities in Sudan's South Kordofan State

09:12, June 22, 2011      

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The African Union (AU) on Tuesday urged the Sudanese parties to the conflict in South Kordofan region on north-south Sudan border to agree on a cessation of hostilities and find a political settlement for the crisis.

"The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Jean Ping, is deeply concerned with the humanitarian crisis unfolding in South Kordofan, following the armed conflict that broke out between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), on 5 June 2011," said a statement by the AU, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua Tuesday.

"Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes and face hunger and diseases, due to fighting, aerial bombardment and the interruption of essential supplies. There are also reports of human rights abuses which need investigation," the statement added.

The AU further urged both parties to facilitate access by humanitarian agencies to the civilian population in all parts of South Kordofan.

The statement also reminded the Sudanese government and the SPLM/SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) of their respective obligations under International Humanitarian Law, and called upon them to act immediately to enable assistance to reach the affected population, and for people in distress to be evacuated to safe areas.

The statement called upon the parties to engage wholeheartedly in their negotiations towards a political settlement of the conflict in South Kordofan, in the talks currently underway, in Addis Ababa, under the facilitation of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

Meanwhile, Sudanese Minister of Defense Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein said Monday that operations of the Sudanese army were continuing in the South Kordofan State to clean some pockets where fighters of the SPLA exist.

The South Kordofan region has been witnessing armed clashes since June 5, only one month ahead of the official declaration of South Sudan's independence on July 9.

The SPLM says the issue of the security arrangements was behind the escalation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile areas because the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudanese army have adopted security arrangements without consulting with the movement in a bid to disarm the SPLA, which led to the recent clashes.

The South Kordofan State has recently witnessed elections for the state's governor with candidates from the Sudan government partners, the NCP and the SPLM, where the NCP candidate Ahmed Haroun won the post.

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