Ban repeats appeal for end to conflict in conversation with Sudan's foreign minister
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today spoke with Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti and emphasized the need for an immediate de-escalation of the ongoing conflict with South Sudan, noting that there can be no military solution to the dispute. In a telephone conversation with Mr. Karti, the Secretary-General urged the Government of Sudan to demonstrate maximum restraint and to consider holding a presidential summit between the leaders of the two countries to resolve the current situation, according to summary of the discussion released by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.
On Thursday, the Security Council voiced growing alarm at the escalating conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, warning that fighting threatens to take both countries to full-scale war, which, it said, has in the past brought only death, suffering, destruction of infrastructure, and economic devastation.
The alarming situation was manifested by the recent seizure and occupation of the town of Heglig and its oil fields in Sudan by South Sudan's army, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the Council said in a presidential statement. The Council demanded an immediate and unconditional end to all fighting.
Members of the Council demanded that both sides redeploy their forces to 10 kilometres away from the 1956 north-south borderline, in accordance with agreements reached last year.
Yesterday, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, also voiced grave concern over the escalation of armed conflict and called on both parties to exercise maximum restraint and respect the territorial integrity of each other.
Mr. Al-Nasser also expressed alarm over the military occupation of Heglig by South Sudan's armed forces and called for their immediate and unconditional withdrawal.
He urged the governments of the two countries to peacefully resolve the fundamental issues of security and border management through dialogue, and to constructively engage in the ongoing mediation efforts of the African Union.