Violent Military Clashes Threatening Peace in Sudan Again
Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) with high Expectations in German Minister of Foreign Affairs Visit to Sudan
June 16, 2011
Increasing violence against civilians in the border region of South Kordofan ('Nuba Mountains') resulted in many casualties and, according to UN estimations, lead to the escape of at least 50.000 habitants.
Volker Faigle, Sudan Representative of the EKD, Berlin, declared "the present military clashes and the resulting flight and expulsion in this region are alarming signs for a possibly escalating conflict with grave consequences between the regional population and the North Sudan Government".
Reports from Sudanese Churches affirm high death tolls and extensive human suffering accompanying the latest fights. Some church buildings, among them the Anglican cathedral of Kadugli, burnt down completely. UN personnel stay in barracks for security reasons and do not protect the civilians. The fights in the border area between North and South Sudan evoke a similar situation as existing in Darfur. There the Sudanese government is blamed to support the terror.
Considering the extent of this new civil war like occurrences in the border region, the international community as yet does not pay adequate attention to the Sudan matter and in Germany this is "hardly an issue - or the conflict is often played down for diplomatic reasons" Faigle comments. The UN Security Council, European Union, Arab League and Arab Union in particular must take responsibility for an intensive cooperation, to allow aid agencies to grant access to the afflicted and their security in the present situation of South Kordofan.
Of the Sudan visit of the German foreign minister Westerwelle, taking place in a few days and being planned already before the beginning of the new quarrels it is hoped, that the minister during his stay in Khartoum as well as in South Sudan and Darfur will urgently call for an immediate cease of all military acts of violence. Meanwhile it becomes more and more apparent that, next to other components, primarily the inconsequent implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed by all parties becomes the source of the violent clashes. One of the principles of the CPA, a democratic change in Sudan and a complex reconciliation, which would have made it possible to keep the unity of the country, was never implemented.
The latest developments bear the danger of a new and long lasting war. It is more than questionable that the readiness of the international community to let the popular consultations and referendum take place in the border region of Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile will lead to the expected success and a lasting peace. Representatives of the EU, among them the Federal Republic of Germany, considered this transfer a breakthrough. Church representatives, however, had warned early that this would lead to considerable problems.
To give a sound chance to a lasting peace solution between North and South Sudan - within a few days becoming sovereign states - it would be of imperative importance to pick up the open questions concerning the border regions so that the agreed plan for the clarification of the future in these regions can be implemented promptly. Germany is going to hold the chair of the UN Security Council in July. Not only for this reason, the visit of the German minister for foreign affairs in Khartoum has to contribute significantly to peaceful developments in Sudan, the German Church Representative declared.
Hannover/Berlin, June 16, 2011
Pressestelle der EKD