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Briefing on issues of ongoing concern in Sudan and South Sudan

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Special Briefing
Ambassador Princeton Lyman
Special Envoy for Sudan
Via Teleconference
January 25, 2012

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Thank you very much. Thank you all for coming and being on the line. I wanted to just bring everybody up to date on a number of issues that we’re following very closely related to Sudan and South Sudan. So let me discuss them briefly and then happy to take your questions about them.

One of the issues that we are extremely concerned about is the situation in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. These are states in the Republic of Sudan; that is, the North. But a conflict has been raging there since last May, arising from issues never fully resolved in the civil war because people in those states, particularly in the Nuba Mountains, fought with the South. And though they remained in the North, their issues were to be resolved in a process called popular consultations. Those did not get finished and a conflict broke out. A very serious armed conflict broke out last year.

Now, what we are very concerned about right now is that there are predictions of a major humanitarian crisis in those areas, particularly Southern Kordofan. You know there’s this predictive mechanism called FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning System Network. They – if you go on their website, you’ll see they have produced two maps, one the situation now – excuse me – and one predicting for March. By March, they feel that a large number of people, a quarter of a million or more, will be – will reach what they call emergency status, which is one short of famine. And this is very alarming to us.