Tuesday, June 18, 2013
U.S. condemns shelling in S. Kordofan that killed UN peacekeeper
The Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) said that it only targeted government military installations in South Kordofan capital town of Kadugli.
However, the rebel group said nothing about the shells that hit the UN base leading to the death of one Ethiopian peacekeeper.
"The United States strongly condemns the shelling of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) interim headquarters today in Kadugli, Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state reportedly by elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which killed one United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeeper from Ethiopia and wounded two others" said the statement released today by the US State department.
"We call on all parties to stop conducting military activities in areas occupied by non-combatants, such as Kadugli, and we stress that attacks on UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes" it further said.
The U.S. said that the incident highlights the need for Sudan and the SPLM-N to resume negotiations.
"This tragic event underscores the need to immediately restart the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)-facilitated direct talks between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N to allow for immediate and unhindered humanitarian access and the cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas" the US State department said.
"These talks are an important first step toward resolving the conflict between the SPLM-N and the Government of Sudan, and are intricately linked to the resolution of a number of remaining issues".
After nearly two years of stonewalling, the Sudanese government agreed last April to sit down with the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa for direct talks on the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states which border South Sudan.
But the talks adjourned without any breakthrough and it is not clear when they may resume.
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir announced late last month that he is ending dialogue with rebel groups in the wake of their assault on several towns in north and south Kordofan.
The insurgency remained a sticking point in relations between Khartoum and Juba with the former accusing the latter of backing the rebellion.
This month, Bashir ordered his government to close pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan to Port Sudan for exporting to international markets.
Sudanese officials later said the decision could be reversed if Juba gave up its support to the anti-Khartoum rebels.