UN peacekeeping chief urges Sudan and South Sudan to cease recriminations

“Only the two parties, working together, can efficiently and effectively manage security at their common border, and… the United Nations stands ready to support them in this respect,” said Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, in a briefing to the Security Council.He urged the two countries to establish the joint border monitoring mechanism they had agreed upon in July.Mr. Ladsous said the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had on Sunday sent a verification team to Yida in South Sudan’s Unity state which confirmed that four bombs were dropped there last week.Three bombs exploded, but the fourth, which landed on a school compound, did not. Different eyewitnesses told the team that the bombs were dropped by a white Antonov aircraft from Sudan, an allegation denied by Sudan. He said that members of the ethnic Nuba community who fled Yida refugee camp following the bombing are now going back.Mr. Ladsous also confirmed that a bombing took place in Quffa in Maban county of Sudan’s Upper Nile state on Tuesday last week, with at least four bombs dropped there.He told the Council that the African Union high-level panel chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki has convened a meeting of the joint political and security mechanism between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on Friday. The mechanism is a Cabinet-level bilateral body agreed to between two countries to resolve disputes and support the consolidation of peaceful relations.Talks mediated by the high-level panel on issues still pending after the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – which led to South Sudan formally seceding from Sudan in July – will also resume in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, next weekend, Mr. Ladsous told the Council.“I would like to urge both governments to demonstrate the necessary flexibility and commitment in the upcoming negotiations in Addis Ababa, and agree swiftly on a package of measures to resolve remaining differences on financial transitional arrangements, Abyei and border demarcation.“Both meetings are critical to reduce tensions but the parties will also need to make sure that any support to each other’s rebel groups ceases immediately,” he said.He said reports had also been received that a new military alliance between rebel movements in Darfur and the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLA-North) had been formed with the stated aim of toppling the Sudanese Government.“This represents a step further in a pattern of escalation that is counter-productive. The United Nations continues to stress that all parties to the different conflicts between the Government of Sudan and its peripheries need to return to the table of negotiations and resolve their differences through political dialogue.”In her briefing to the Council, Hilde Johnson, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMISS, said the mission stood ready to support the Government of South Sudan address the challenges of State-building, especially in the areas of human rights and the rule of law.“UNMISS has a key supporting role to play in the protection of civilians, but the Government retains ultimate responsibility,” Ms. Johnson told the Council via video link from Juba, the Capital of South Sudan.“The efforts of UNMISS to strengthen the capacity of national security organs to deliver security and the rule of law will bolster the Government’s ability to protect its citizens,” she said, adding there was a great need to professionalize South Sudan’s institutions to meet the minimum international standards. 15 November 2011The head of United Nations peacekeeping today urged the governments of South Sudan and Sudan to refrain from actions and statements that could lead to a further deterioration in their relations following recent incidents near their common border. read more