1. Thank you for this opportunity to further brief the Security Council on recent tensions at the border between Sudan and South Sudan, and recent reports of bombings in the border areas. I will also say a few words on the report of the creation of a new military coalition between the SPLM-North and Darfur rebel groups.
2. UNMISS dispatched a verification Mission to Yida, Unity state, on 13 November. A joint team of civilian and military personnel, including Mine action, confirmed that four bombs were dropped on 10 November. Three of these bombs exploded and one did not. This fourth bomb landed on a school yard but fortunately, did not explode. According to different eye witnesses’ accounts of the incident, these bombs were dropped by a white Antonov aircraft coming from Sudan. The Government of Sudan has denied that these bombings took place on South Sudanese territory. Luckily, no casualties or injuries were suffered during this incident. The Nuba populations, which had fled the Yida refugee camp following the bombing, are now slowly returning. I am also in a position to confirm that bombing took place in Quffa,
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Maban county, Upper Nile State, on 8 November. At least four bombs were dropped.
3. Regarding reports of fighting in Kuek, Manyo County, Upper Nile state, on 11 November, UNMISS could not verify the allegations of cross-border incursions. It confirmed that fighting took place in the northern part of Manyo county however and supported the medical evacuation of nine seriously injured SPLA soldiers from Renk to Juba.
4. As stated by the Secretary-General yesterday, the escalation of rhetoric between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, particularly in regard to cross-border support to their respective rebel groups and incursions into one another’s territory, are extremely worrying. The African High-Level Panel chaired by President Mbeki has called for a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan on 18 November. As the Council is probably aware, the Joint Political Security Mechanism is a cabinet-level bilateral body agreed upon by the two Heads of States to resolve disputes and support the consolidation of peaceful relations between the two countries.
5. I wish to urge both governments to seize this opportunity to de-escalate the current situation and move swiftly towards the establishment of the joint border monitoring mechanism they had agreed upon on 30 July 2011. Only the two parties, working together, can efficiently and effectively manage security at their common border, and, as stated by the Secretary General in
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his September report on Abyei, the United Nations stands ready to support them in this respect.
4. The Panel will also resume post-CPA negotiations at the end of the week in Addis-Ababa. I would like to urge both governments to demonstrate the necessary flexibility and commitment in the upcoming negotiations in Addis-Ababa, and agree swiftly on a package of measures to resolve remaining differences on financial transitional arrangements, Abyei and border demarcation. Both meetings are critical to reduce tensions but the parties will also need to make sure that any support to each other’s rebel groups ceases immediately.
5. We also received reports this weekend of the establishment of a new military alliance of Darfur rebel movements and the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North, calling for the forceful removal from power of the Government of Sudan. This represents a step further in a pattern of escalation that is counter-productive. The United Nations continues to stress that all parties to the different conflicts between the Government of Sudan and its peripheries need to return to the table of negotiations and resolve their differences through political dialogue. There is no military solution to the Sudan conflicts and all military actions only endanger the lives of innocent civilians who deserve to return to peace and stability after so many years of fighting.
Thank you, Mr. President