Sudan crisis `major threat` to peace: UN`s Ban
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 20:35
Addis Ababa: UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Sunday a crisis between former enemies Sudan and South Sudan has become a major threat to regional peace and security.

"The situation in Sudan and South Sudan has reached a critical point, it has become a major threat to peace and security across the region," Ban said at an African Union summit meeting in the Ethiopian capital.

South Sudan split from Khartoum in July after decades of war, but key issues remain unresolved, including a furious row over pipeline transit fees to transport the South's oil to port in the rump state of Sudan.

In addition, tensions have been raised by their still undemarcated border -- cutting through oil fields -- as well as allegations by each side that the other backs proxy rebel forces against the other.

"The international community needs to act, and it needs to act now," Ban added. "As long as these issues remain unresolved, tensions will only grow."

Asked by reporters if he feared war could break out again, Ban replied: "That is also a great concern for me as Secretary General. That is why I'm meeting as many African leaders as possible."

South Sudan has also demanded the handover of the contested border region of Abyei, claimed by both sides, but which the northern army has controlled since storming the region last year, after a planned referendum there was stalled.

Ban accused both Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir of "a lack of political will."

However, in rare singling out, the UN chief specifically urged Bashir to cooperate in resolving the crisis. "I urge him (Bashir) again to fully cooperate with the United Nations," Ban said.


First Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012, 20:35

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