Washington – US President Barack Obama has called for a ceasefire in Sudan, following an upsurge in fighting in the South Kordofan region, the BBC informs. He urged both the north and south to “live up to their responsibilities” to prevent a return to civil war.
Thousands of people have been displaced in recent days of violence, which comes only weeks before South Sudan becomes independent. Meanwhile, the UN has accused Sudan of hampering aid efforts. Roadblocks manned by militia are preventing aid reaching thousands of people in need, the UN’s refugee agency said. The agency said it had appealed to the Sudanese government to allow planes to land at the main airport in the affected area, in Kadugli. Khartoum carried out what the UN described as an “intensive bombing campaign” near the border on Tuesday. Northern forces are accused of targeting the area’s pro-southern groups, as oil-rich South Sudan prepares for independence next month. “There is no military solution; the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan must live up to the responsibilities,” Obama said in a recorded audio message. “The government of Sudan must prevent a further escalation of this crisis by ceasing its military actions immediately, including aerial bombardments, forced displacements and campaigns of intimidation,” he added. Meanwhile, the head of the worldwide Anglican church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, said the unrest was a major threat to the stability of Sudan. Southern Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin welcomed Obama’s remarks and said a well-planned disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme was needed instead of the current use of force.