Sudan: Sudan worried about 'sorry developments' in South Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - In its first official comment on the developments in South Sudan, Khartoum on Monday described clashes in neighbouring South Sudan as “sorry developments”, and expressed “deep concern “ over the loss of life and insecurity there.

The state-run Radio Omdurman quoted a statement issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as saying clashes in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, had led to the death of “a huge number of people on both sides” to the conflict in that country and affected stability and security.

Clashes erupted in South Sudan’s capital of Juba on Friday and continued through Saturday and early hours of Sunday, leaving at least 250 people dead, according to reports published by Khartoum daily newspapers on Monday.

The Ministry said Sudan had started contacts with all concerned parties in and outside the region, which were part of the implementation mechanism for the agreement signed between the two sides in 2015, and which resulted in the formation of the national government in which President Salva Kiir appointed Dr. Rick Machar as his First Vice-President.

The ministry said it contacted the East Africa grouping for development, known as IGAD, and that the group’s foreign ministers would meet in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday to tackle the new developments.

“The aim is to restore peace and security in South Sudan and stave off bloodletting so that efforts would be veered to peace and development."

The statement said that Sudanese President Omar Bashir, stemming from its concern and keenness for stability in South Sudan, the made phone calls to President Kiir Dr Machar urging them to observe self-restraint and to work for containing the situation to achieve stability and peace in South Sudan.

The Ministry said the Sudanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Professor Ibrahim Ghandour, would take part in Monday's extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the IGAD countries in Nairobi with the view to reaching full stability of the situation in South Sudan and to stop any bloodletting and direct efforts for peace and development there.

Denying persistent reports, including UN report of deterioration of the situation in South Sudan, the Minister of Information and official spokesman in Juba, Micheal Makuei, told a Sudanese independent daily by phone that all is "under control now".

“The situation is fully stable now and events have been contained since yesterday. Some elements have infiltrated into Juba and spurred this conflict. But the People’s Amy has destroyed them,” Makuei was quoted by the al Youm Al Tali (Arabic for Next Day) as saying.

He denied that the airport at Juba was closed to local and international flights saying that if some companies preferred not to fly to Juba then this was their business “but the airport remains open to this moment” the Minister said.

He also argued that President Kiir and his government were and remained inside Juba adding that “anybody reporting otherwise is making it up and bluffing".

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has strongly condemned the escalating violence in and around the South Sudanese capital of Juba that began on 7 July.

The Security Council on Sunday joined Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in calling for an end to the fighting, while separately demanding that President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Reik Machar did their utmost to control their respective forces.

Reading out portions of a statement to the press following a three-hour closed-door emergency session, Ambassador Koro Bessho of Japan, which holds the Council's presidency for the month, said the body's 15 members had expressed particular "shock and outrage" at the attacks on UN compounds and protection of civilians sites in Juba.

The Council's statement followed similar expressions of outrage by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which both earlier on Sunday condemned the violence and urged calm in the wake fresh clashes in Juba between soldiers of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition.

They also deplored that separately, UN and diplomatic officials had been targeted, as the world's youngest country on Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of its independence.

“The members of the Council condemned in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against civilians and the United Nations. They emphasized the need for United Nations [civilian protection] sites and United Nations personnel to remain secure,” said the Council President, expressing sympathies and condolences to the families of Chineseh and Rwandan peacekeepers who were killed or injured in the attacks.

Urging an immediate end to the fighting by all concerned and demanding that President Kiir and First Vice-President Machar did their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence, the Council in its statement also urged the two leaders to “genuinely commit themselves to the full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire and redeployment of military forces from Juba.”

Further to the statement, the Security Council reminded all parties, including Government security forces, of the civilian character of the protection of civilian sites in South Sudan. As such, Council members stressed that attacks against civilians and UN premises and personnel may constitute war crimes.

They also emphasized the importance of transparent investigations into these crimes and that those involved must be held accountable and could be potentially subject to sanctions as authorized under Council resolution 2206 (2015) for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.

The Council expressed its support for UNMISS and its readiness to consider enhancing the Mission to better ensure that the UNMISS and the international community can prevent and respond to violence in South Sudan, the President said.

“The members of the Security Council encouraged States in the region to prepare to provide additional troops in the event the Council so decides. In the interim, [the Council] stressed the need for UNMISS to make full use of its authority to use all necessary means to protect civilians,” he concluded.
-0- PANA MO/MA 11July2016

11 july 2016 10:43:44

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