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EU, US Condemn Sudan's Attack Of South, Call For Immediate Ceasefire

The United States and the European Union have strongly condemned Sudan's military incursion into South Sudan, and called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of all Sudanese armed militia from South Sudan.

Sudan must immediately halt the aerial and artillery bombardment in South Sudan, U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement on Monday. Sudan and South Sudan must end all military support for rebel groups within the other country, she added.

"We recognize the right of South Sudan to self-defense and urge South Sudan to exercise restraint in its reaction to Sudan's attack in Unity State and to refrain from disproportionate actions which would only further inflame the hostilities between the parties," the State Department said. Welcoming South Sudan's withdrawal from Heglig, the United States urged that South Sudan complete a total withdrawal of all South Sudanese armed forces deployed across the January 1, 1956 border.

It called on both governments to agree to an immediate unconditional cessation of hostilities and recommit to negotiations under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel. Washington urged both parties to activate without delay the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, including unarmed observers from both parties supported by U.N. observers.

Nuland recalled President Barack Obama's message to the people of Sudan and South Sudan that "all those who are fighting must recognize that there is no military solution. The only way to achieve real and lasting security is to resolve your differences through negotiation."

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council called on the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to stop immediately attacks on each other's territory, whether directly or through proxies, cease hostilities, withdraw all security personnel from Abyei and avoid further provocative actions, including inflammatory rhetoric. It urged both sides to establish the joint border verification and monitoring mechanism without further delay.

At its meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, EU Foreign Ministers called on South Sudan not to mount any further attacks and urged the government of Sudan not to attack SPLA forces as they withdraw from Heglig.

The EU condemned continued aerial bombings and reported ground incursions into South Sudan by the Sudan Armed Forces. The use of force will not resolve any of the outstanding issues between the two countries, it added. The EU urged both sides to return to the existing negotiating process under the auspices of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and renew their efforts in good faith to reach agreement through peaceful dialogue.

The EU called on the governments of bothe the countries to honor their Memorandum of Understanding on Non-Aggression and Cooperation signed in Addis Ababa on February 10, 2012, saying that it is essential to allow the peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues.

by RTT Staff Writer

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