Sudans need quick solution

Monday, April 30, 2012

AS MUCH of the global attention is focussed on the unceasing Syrian unrest, the conflict between Sudan and the newly carved south Sudan — which has the potential to trigger a war — isn't drawing the concern and international intervention it deserves. Though the secession of south Sudan from the North in July last year brought some respite in hostilities, the contentious issues like the oil fields, pipe lines and border demarcations are yet to be settled.

Territorial incursions, militia violence and border skirmishes have steadily been claiming lives on both sides, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.

The disturbance has further aggravated the crisis in the border states of both the countries, some of which are still reeling under the drought.

Though the UN Security Council and the African Union have urged the two nations to end hostilities and begin talks to sort out issues within three weeks, the North is not very sanguine to the UN Council's involvement as it has some misgivings about its stand.

The international peace negotiators, who had intervened in the past, resulting in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, have to step in immediately to settle the real issues as they cannot leave the peace process midway.

Last fortnight, the southern forces intruded into the Heglig oil area, only to pull back later under international pressure.

The North, too, is not without blemish. There are charges against it of instigating incursions into the South by militias and tribes, who are favourably disposed towards it.

The recent African Union and Egyptian moves apart, the US and the European Union have to intervene and get the squabbling nations together for talks. China, which has growing trade relations with both the countries, could also play a crucial role in bringing calm in the region.