US warns 'time is limited' on Sudanese peace accord
Washington: The US warned on Friday that "time is limited" on the implementation of a Sudanese peace accord and urged both sides in the north-south conflict to meet their obligations under the agreement.
"Time is limited, the stakes are high, and there is much work yet to be done to secure a lasting peace and prevent the resurgence of a deadly war," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
This week marks five years since the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
But recent violence coupled with the slow pace of its implementation has sparked worries that the war, which had been Africa's longest running and deadliest civil war, could re-erupt.
International aid agencies issued a report on Thursday warning Sudan could slide into a major new conflict if the world does not act quickly to keep the peace. The report said 2,500 people died in clashes in the south in 2009 and another 350,000 were left homeless.
The contentious issues remaining to fulfil the CPA's goals could further inflame tensions, the report said, ahead of a plan to hold a referendum next year on southern secession.
Violence could break out unless multiparty elections and the referendum are properly prepared for, the report said.
"Last year saw a surge in violence in southern Sudan. This could escalate even further and become one of the biggest emergencies in Africa in 2010," said Oxfam's Maya Mailer, one of the authors of the report.
Gibbs said "recent setbacks" like the clashes in the south, the Khartoum government's passage of a repressive legislation and suppression of peaceful protests, along with a failure to agree on north-south borders "do not bode well for the region or for the people of Sudan".
"Consistent with our strategy, the United States will continue to call to account those responsible for delays and deviations from the path to lasting peace," he said.