The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday adopted a resolution that threatens sanctions on Sudan and South Sudan if the two neighboring African nations fails to halt their ongoing border clashes within two weeks.
The US-drafted resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member Council noted that that the prevailing situation along the border between Sudan and South Sudan constitutes "a serious threat to international peace and security."
The resolution urged both Khartoum and Juba to resume negotiations to end the ongoing conflict within two weeks and conclude them within three months by reaching an "agreement on arrangements concerning oil and associated payments, the status of nationals of one country resident in the other, resolving the status of disputed and claimed border areas and border demarcation, and the final status of the disputed area of Abyei."
The Council also demanded the two countries immediately cease all hostilities; unconditionally withdraw all of their armed forces to their side of the border; activate the necessary border security mechanisms within one week; and immediately cease hostile propaganda and inflammatory statements in the media.
The Council expressed "its intention, in the event that any or all of the parties have not complied with the decisions set forth in this resolution, to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 of the Charter as necessary."
Article 41 falls under the UN Charter's Chapter VII, which deals with threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. It states that the Council may decide what measures - not involving the use of armed force - are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call on the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.
Border clashes between Sudan and South Sudan erupted in late March, marking the biggest confrontation between the two sides after South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July last year in line with a 2005 peace agreement ending 22 years of civil war between the Arab North and the Christian and animist South. More than 100,000 people are said to have been displaced by the ongoing hostilities. Fighting still continues, raising fears the border clashes might escalate into a full-fledged war.
Tensions escalated after South Sudanese forces moved into the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan's South Kordofan state on April 10, before eventually vacating the area. Sudan, which had responded by bombarding South Sudanese territory, has since regained control of Heglig, which accounts for 60,000 of the 115,000 barrels of oil produced in Sudan daily.
South Sudan had gained control of nearly 75 percent of Sudan's oil production with a daily output of around 500,000 barrels when they declared independence on July 9 last year. The two nations are yet to resolve several outstanding post-secession issues, including the ownership of oil-rich Abyei region, and settle disputes over oil transit fees. Both countries are heavily dependent on oil revenues. South Sudan recently suspended its oil production because of the dispute with Sudan over oil transit fees.
by RTT Staff Writer
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