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U.S. alarmed by escalating violence in Sudan

(Xinhua)

09:18, March 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government said on Thursday that it is alarmed by the escalating violence between Sudan's government forces and rebels in the country's southern state bordering South Sudan, urging all parties to bring peace to the border region.

In a written statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Washington is alarmed by the "threat of greater violence" between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and rebel groups belonging to 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," she said.

Nuland noted that the conflict is fueling mistrust between Sudan and South Sudan, voicing deep concerns about the possibility that direct clash between the two countries could resume.

Sudan's South Kordofan, a state bordering South Sudan, has been witnessing clashes between the government forces and rebel groups belonging to the SPLM-N since June last year.

Sudan and South Sudan have been trading accusations of supporting each other's opposition. Sudan said that South Sudan supports the rebels active at Blue Nile and South Kordofan, while the latter accuses Sudan of supporting the rebel groups in the south.

Nuland urged Sudan's military and the rebels to agree on a cease-fire, reiterating the demand that the government forces end aerial bombardments of civilian areas and immediately allow humanitarian access in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Meanwhile, she demanded that South Sudan end military support for the rebels, hoping that the upcoming meeting between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir will "bring peace to the border region. "

South Sudan was officially declared independent on July 9, 2011, but the two countries failed to resolve many outstanding issues, including border issues, sharing of oil produced in the south and exported through Sudan's oil infrastructures.

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