US, partners urge Sudan parties to reach peace

10th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The United States, Britain and Norway on Tuesday urged Sudan's north and south to step up efforts to resolve outstanding problems, including the status of the volatile oil-rich Abyei region.

The three peace process sponsors issued a joint statement to press the north and south to carry out quickly the remaining provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two 22 years of civil war.

There has been an upsurge in violence after the January self-determination referendum in southern Sudan where an overwhelming majority voted for the south to break away from the north and become independent in July.

The Troika urged both parties to "intensify their negotiations to finalize arrangements that will provide the basis for two stable, secure, and viable states living in peace with one another and their neighbors," they said.

"We call on the parties to approach the next two months with a renewed sense of urgency to resolve key outstanding issues, especially the future status of Abyei, before the end of the CPA," they said.

The three countries urged both sides to "desist" from actions like those in the last few weeks when both sides introduced forces into the Abyei border region, sparking deadly clashes.

They called on both sides to live up to their commitment to withdraw all illegal troops from Abyei.

The three said they were concerned about "rising tensions" in the volatile Sudan state of South Kordofan after three days of voting for a new governor and assembly, which international observers described as largely calm.

The hotly contested elections have pitted former civil war enemies against each other in what was a key battleground during the civil war, with analysts warning of explosive consequences if the vote fails.

"We call on local and national leaders to take immediate steps to improve the security situation and exercise control over all armed security elements," the joint statement read.

The Troika expressed concern for the fate of peace negotiations for Sudan's western Darfur region.

"We have been encouraged by the recent renewal of face-to-face negotiations between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Doha," it said.

"However, these talks have once again broken down due to inflexibility on each side. We urge GOS and JEM to re-launch these negotiations as soon as possible," it added.

© 2011 AFP

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