President Barack Obama urged the people of both Sudans Saturday to choose peace over war and to make the decision to allow their children live in a new world free from violence.
In a video message posted on the White House's YouTube channel, the President echoed what envoys and other world leaders have been saying since clashes broke out on the shared border between North and South Sudan - war can be avoided.
"My message to you today is simple - it doesn't have to be this way. Conflict is not inevitable. You still have a choice. You still have a chance to avoid being be dragged back into war," the President began.
He then urged both sides to act according to a ceasefire stipulating the need for demilitarization, verification and monitoring along the 12.5-mile border.
"The government of Sudan must stop its military action, including aerial bombardments, must give aid workers the access they need to save lives and it must end it support for armed groups inside the South."
The most violent clashes to date since the South declared independence from the North in July of last year erupted late last month, when the South crossed the porous border and occupied a crucial oil producing region called Heglig.
The U.S., U.N. and other international organizations have characterized the occupation as illegal and an unnecessary provocation.
"The government of South Sudan must end its support for armed groups inside Sudan and it must cease its military actions across the border," the President said in his YouTube video adding, "all those who are fighting, including in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, must recognize there is no military solution."
But the video was less of an appeal to the government and more to the people. The President urged the people of the two countries to "choose peace" and help their children grow up in a world they themselves never experienced.
"As I've said before," the President said, concluding his nearly three minute remarks, "those who have the courage to walk the path of peace will not be alone - they will have a strong and steady partner in the United States of America."
On Saturday the South said it was beginning to pull it's troops out of Heglig after it's 10-day occupation, a process that would take three days.
by RTT Staff Writer
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