Special Envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman today stressed that Sudan and South Sudan must work to establish peace within their respective borders.
At the Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Mr. Lyman discussed the historic achievement symbolized by South Sudan’s independence and the opportunities and challenges ahead as Sudan and South Sudan seek to define their future relationship with each other and the international community.
“Tens of thousands of people endured sweltering heat for hours to celebrate the birth of their new nation. Sudan was the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence. This was a historic achievement that represents a new beginning for the people of South Sudan as well as those of Sudan.” -Mr. Lyman
Mr. Lyman pointed out that the violence that flared in Abyei cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace. He said it is critical that the parties move forward with genuinely implementing this agreement over the coming weeks as they continue to work toward a final arrangement on Abyei.
He emphasized that negotiations on the oil sector are equally important, but they must move on a quicker timetable. He stressed by the end of July, there has to be an understanding of how oil will be marketed and sold and to what extent the SPLM will provide some tapering off of reductions of income to the north.
“Despite their separation, both countries have significant diversity and must decide how they will manage that diversity over the coming years.” -Mr. Lyman
He stressed that the United States remains deeply concerned about the situation in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, an area that is home to tens of thousands of SPLA fighters. He added that tensions increased in Southern Kordofan following the state’s heavily-contested elections in May.
“We are extremely concerned by credible allegations of targeted and ethnic-based killings and other gross human rights abuses. These abuses must end, an investigation must be conducted, and perpetrators must be held accountable.” -Mr. Lyman
Mr. Lyman stated that the UN estimates that 73,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, and critical access and resupply routes for humanitarian agencies have been blocked.
“Despite the opposition of Khartoum, we also continue to call on the Government of Sudan to accept a continued UN presence in the two states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to support a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access, and the establishment of new security arrangements.” -Mr. Lyman
He emphasized that international community agrees, that it is in their interest to do so. The Security Council has expressed its readiness to authorize continued UN operations if Khartoum consents.
Mr. Lyman also stressed that the United States also remains deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. He said clashes continue to occur in North and South Darfur between the Government of Sudan and an alliance of Darfur rebel groups, notably the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement.
He reported that the SAF continues to use aerial bombardments as well as proxy militias as part of its military strategy against the movements, thereby resulting in civilian casualties. Conflict and widespread insecurity impact the humanitarian situation negatively and hamper humanitarian organizations from carrying out their activities in the deep field.
“We have consistently pressed the Government of Sudan to provide full and unfettered access for aid workers and peacekeepers, in order to deliver humanitarian assistance across Darfur.” -Mr. Lyman
He highlighted that although there has been some limited IDP resettlement in West Darfur and a significant increase in seasonal IDP returns for cultivation, around 2 million Darfuris overall remain in IDP camps.
He added that approximately 70,000 additional persons have been displaced since December 2010.