Violence continues to flare along the border dividing the newly independent Republic of South Sudan and its former ruler Sudan in East Africa. Fighting between rebel groups and the Sudanese army has driven thousands into South Sudan seeking safe haven. Recent attacks on rebel groups have expanded to include aerial bombardment of a refugee camp in the south, escalating regional tensions further and complicating negotiations over unresolved independence issues such as division of oil revenues and the future political status of the Abyei border region.
The United States strongly condemns in the clearest possible terms the bombing by Sudan Armed Forces on both sides of the international border. Indiscriminate aerial attacks on civilian targets are unjustified and unacceptable. The attacks violate international law, escalate the ongoing crisis that erupted this summer in Sudan's Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and increase the potential for direct confrontation between the two sovereign neighbors. The bombing should cease immediately and restraint be exercised by all parties to prevent further escalation of hostilities.
The attacks further emphasize the need to resume political talks between the government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North. The United States supports non-violent efforts to transform Sudan into an inclusive, democratic state. This cannot be achieved through violent means. We have expressed to opposition groups that their goal of an inclusive democratic state should be met by engaging the government of Sudan in a political dialogue rather than through armed conflict.
We call on all parties to cease military actions and to work with Ethiopean Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, former South African President Thabo Mbeki and United Nations Special Envoy Haile Menkerios in their efforts for a negotiated and peaceful settlement of differences.