Thursday, January 07, 2010

UK Foreign Office Minister Glenys Kinnock to visit Sudan

Poverty and rising violence are causing tension between southern and northern Sudan. Sudan's ambassador to London, Omar Muhammad Siddiq, says communities are arming themselves and are fighting "tribal wars", mainly over the competition for scarce resources.

South Sudan 'deteriorating'

The BBC's James Copnall in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, says the country is clearly at the start of a highly charged and risky 12 months.

However, he notes that unlike at the outset of previous crises, there is a heavy international presence in the country.

The military worth of the UN peacekeeping mission has yet to be tested, but nearly 10,000 military personnel are charged with keeping the peace, he says.

Sudan's ambassador to London, Omar Muhammad Siddiq, acknowledged that the situation in South Sudan was "deteriorating".

He said communities there were arming themselves and were fighting "tribal wars", mainly over the competition for scarce resources.

"The situation is not as good as we were expecting after the signature of the comprehensive peace agreement," he said.

However, he argued that the unrest would not affect the elections, in which he said parties and voters were preparing to participate.

British Foreign Office Minister Glenys Kinnock, who is due to visit Sudan, noted that it was one of the world's poorest countries.

"They are doing disastrously, and that is reflected in the terrible poverty and relentless suffering of the people," she said.

But she added that fully-blown conflict could still be averted.

"I think we still have time to ensure that we do see a peaceful, stable Sudan being built around the framework of an election and a referendum," she said.

"What we're asking is for the leadership of both sides, of the government of the South and the government of Sudan, [is] that they ensure that they talk together, they work together with the same motivation, which is to bring peace and security to Sudan."

See full story and video of UK Foreign Office Minister Glenys Kinnock at BBC News report 01:46 GMT 07 Jan 2010: Aid groups warn of Sudan civil war risk.
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FULL TEXT: Report by Caritas; Christian Aid; Cordaid; Handicap International; International Rescue Committee (IRC); Oxfam; Save the Children Alliance; Tearfund; World Vision

Click here to read 07 Jan 2010 report entitled 'Rescuing the Peace in Southern Sudan'. [Thanks to ReliefWeb plus Associated Press report at The New York Times 07 Jan 2010 entitled Aid Groups Issue Warning on Southern Sudan]

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