The United States is deeply concerned about the fighting that broke out September 1 between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N) in Blue Nile State in Sudan, as well as the ongoing troop mobilization on both sides. We call on both parties to cease hostilities and for the SAF to end aerial bombings. We also call on both parties to protect civilians and engage in dialogue to prevent further escalation of violence.
These clashes in Blue Nile follow fighting that has been ongoing since June 5 between the SAF and SPLM/A-North in Southern Kordofan, about which we also remain deeply concerned. The United States continues to call on both sides to allow unfettered humanitarian access and human rights monitoring of affected populations in Southern Kordofan, as well as Blue Nile.
The spread of fighting into Blue Nile further highlights the urgent need for negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to reach a political settlement that brings peace and stability to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. In this regard we are particularly disappointed that there has been no follow through after the meeting between President Bashir and SPLM/N Chairman Malik Agar in Khartoum on August 21. We also reiterate the need for a peaceful relationship between Sudan and South Sudan and for resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries.
This week’s announcement by the Government of Sudan to establish a two-week unilateral ceasefire in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state is a positive initial step toward bringing stability and relief to those affected by violence since early June. The United States strongly urges the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to show the same leadership and declare a two week ceasefire as well.
While we are encouraged by this announcement of a unilateral ceasefire and renewed discussions between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, the parties must immediately return to talks to agree to a full cessation of hostilities and a resolution of the political future of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The Framework Agreement signed on June 28 in Addis Ababa is a strong foundation for these talks.
The Government of Sudan must allow immediate and full access to humanitarian organizations so that they can provide much needed relief to the people of Southern Kordofan. We strongly urge both sides to refrain from using a ceasefire to strengthen any military positions.
The United States supports the call by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a full investigation of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan. Those responsible for attacks on civilians must be held accountable for their actions.