China and the United States are in a unique position to encourage Sudan and South Sudan to resolve their internal and cross-border conflicts through peaceful negotiation, said a coalition of leading Arab and African civil society organisations in letters sent to the US Secretary of State and Chinese Foreign Minister ahead of the US-China strategic dialogue in Beijing, May 3-4.
The signatory organisations, which include the Institute for Security Studies and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, warn that recent escalation of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan poses a very grave threat to international peace and security. Their plea comes as the UN Security Council has agreed to vote in favor of a new resolution regarding the Sudans conflict.
The letters call on the US and China to show leadership and use their influence with the two parties, and their status as permanent members of the UN Security Council, to encourage Sudan and South Sudan to return to the negotiating table and resolve outstanding post-secession issues.
The organisations warn that the impending rainy season means that time is running out to help hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting, many of whom are already facing serious food shortages. They stress the need for Sudan to uphold its commitment to addressing the underlying causes of conflicts in South Kordorfan and Blue Nile states, which can have ‘no military solution’.
The letter, which was sent on Tuesday to Mr Yang Jiechi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and Hillary Clinton, US secretary of State, reads: “Your engagement and collaboration is crucial for the well being of the people of the two Sudans and for the region as a whole. […] Sudan and South Sudan are at a turning-point in their history and the next few weeks and months will be decisive. Everyone, not least the Sudanese people, stands to lose if the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan resort to war at the expense of peace.”
The specific issues the organisations say need to be resolved are:
- Implementation of the requirements of the African Union and UN Security Council
- Cessation of attacks on civilians, a cessation of hostilities and unimpeded humanitarian access across Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, Sudan
- Expeditious finalisation of transitional financial arrangements, including oil transit fees
- Prompt resolution of the future status of Abyei and demarcation of the border
- End international arms transfers to Sudan and South Sudan
- Respect for human rights and the rule of law
List of signatory organisations:
- Africa Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
- Africa Peace Forum
- Al Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development
- Arab Coalition for Darfur (ACD) (representing 135 Arab civil society organisations)
- Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
- Blue Nile Relief
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- Community Empowerment Progress Organization
- Darfur Bar Association
- Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre
- Funj Youth Development Association
- Institute for Security Studies
- International Refugee Rights Initiative
- Kamma Organization for Development Initiatives
- Nuba Relief
- Rehabilitation and Development Organization
- Sudan Democracy First Group
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