Spindelegger: “New spiral of violence in Sudan must be prevented”
Foreign Minister appeals to northern Sudanese troops to withdraw from Abyei
Vienna, 25 May 2011 – “Sudan impressed all of us with the successful and disciplined conduct of the independence referendum in January. It would be crazy if Sudan were to experience a return to violence after successfully clearing this first large hurdle,” said Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger, expressing his concern about the escalation of tensions in Abyei Province, located between Sudan and Southern Sudan, which is headed for independence.
“People in Sudan, whose lives have been characterised by civil war and displacement for decades, hope for a future in peace and security. These hopes must not be dashed by a new spiral of violence. I appeal to President Omar al-Bashir to withdraw his troops. The presence of tanks in the streets of Abyei is in stark contrast to the 2005 peace agreement,” continued Spindelegger.
As a result of the events in Abyei, tens of thousands of people were now facing a humanitarian emergency situation, emphasised the Foreign Minister, who also reminded Sudanese politicians of their responsibility regarding the protection of civilians. “The use of force in occupying and looting Abyei has already caused thousands of people to flee. The UN Security Council resolution adopted in 2009 under Austria’s chair yields a clear obligation of the country’s political leaders, and we are going to demand at the international level that they meet it,” said Spindelegger.
The way in which still open issues were being dealt with by both sides, such as the drawing of borders in the Abyei region, was key to the way in which the international community was going to meet the challenges in Sudan, emphasised Spindelegger. He recalled the EU foreign ministers’ decision taken last Monday to provide long-term funding in the amount of 200 million euros for peace and stability in future Southern Sudan. In principle, the international community was also prepared to consider questions such as foreign debt relief. “But all this calls for a credible commitment to a policy of peace in Southern Sudan. Both sides must seek solutions at the negotiating table instead of relying on the brute force of weapons. The political will to resolve open questions peacefully is the indispensable contribution of those locally responsible for a new start,” concluded the Foreign Minister.
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