150 African and Arab civil society organisations implore US and China to help solve conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan
Published: 1 May 2012
H.E. Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
United States of America
1 May 2012
Re: Appeal of 150 African and Middle East civil society organisations for joint action by the governments
of China and the United States of America to address Sudan/South Sudan conflict
On the eve of the fourth round of the United States–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, we appeal
to you and your Chinese counterpart H.E. Mr. Yang Jiechi to further enhance your current diplomatic
efforts and work together to spearhead a collective diplomatic initiative to end ongoing conflicts in
Sudan and South Sudan. The escalation in cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan in
recent weeks poses a very grave threat to international peace and security. The United Nations Security
Council and the African Union (AU) have called on the two countries urgently to resolve issues around
security and border management, Abyei, and other outstanding matters within the historic
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that are fuelling mutual distrust.
In addition, to achieve the collective goal of two viable states living side by side in peace and prosperity,
it is essential that the international community hold Sudan to its commitment to address the underlying
causes of the ongoing wars in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. These conflicts pose
fundamental threats to the country’s stability, as well as that of its neighbour and the wider region. The
United Nations (UN) reports that over 140,000 refugees from Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan are
already in South Sudan and Ethiopia, where they are struggling to meet their basic needs. This is only a
fraction of those severely affected by the conflict that remain in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which
the UN estimates number more than 300,000 people. The impending onset of the rainy season means
that time is running out to help all those displaced. By June, roads in the border areas will become
almost impassable and many acutely vulnerable civilians facing serious food shortages will be cut off
from humanitarian assistance.
In spite of this, the Government of Sudan is yet to accept the proposal from the UN, AU and League of
Arab States for immediate access and assistance to the two areas. Furthermore, indiscriminate aerial
bombardment of civilians is a daily event, and the warlike rhetoric and conduct of the Government of
Sudan and armed opposition groups continues to escalate. As the AU Peace and Security Council
repeated on 24 April (PSC/MIN/3 (CCXIX)), there can be no military solution to the conflicts and only a
genuine political solution based on respect for diversity in unity will bring about lasting peace and
stability. It is therefore imperative that Sudan upholds its commitment to address the underlying causes
of these protracted conflicts – each of which is exacting a massive human toll.
As global world leaders with long-standing relationships with the two parties, and as permanent
members of the UN Security Council, China and the United States are in a unique position to encourage
Sudan and South Sudan to resolve their internal and cross-border conflicts through peaceful negotiation.
Your past engagement has yielded important outcomes – such as Khartoum’s acceptance of the Hybrid
AU/UN peacekeeping mission, the negotiation of the CPA, the successful conduct of the southern selfdetermination
referendum, and the subsequent formal independence of South Sudan.
News that your envoys have again been actively engaging the parties in recent weeks is therefore very
welcome. It is vital that both Juba and Khartoum receive clear and consistent messages from the United
States and Chinese governments, backed up by the wider international community, that the demands of
the UN Security Council and African Union Peace and Security Council are fulfilled without further delay.
Your engagement and collaboration is crucial for the well being of the people of Sudan and South Sudan
and for the region as a whole.
We recognise that the Chinese and US governments are not alone in their responsibility towards, or
concern about, Sudan and South Sudan. The rest of the UN Security Council and the African Union and
its member states all have a role to play, as do regional bodies such as the League of Arab States,
Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the European Union, and the Organisation of the Islamic
Cooperation. We note the positive steps that states such as Qatar, Turkey and Norway have taken to
engage Sudan and support its development. Ethiopia’s long-running efforts to directly assist both Sudan
and South Sudan to resolve some of their more protracted post-secession disputes are particularly
commendable even if the conduct of the parties continues to block progress. Ensuring that these
important diplomatic initiatives are built upon and effectively coordinated would further enhance their
China and the United States have a leadership role to play in this respect. We urge you to ensure US
Special Envoy for Sudan, Princeton Lyman coordinates closely with China’s new Special Representative
for African Affairs, Zhong Jianhua, in pursuit of broader international engagement that backs up the
work of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP). This should be welcomed by President
Mbeki and the other panel members.
Sudan and South Sudan are at a turning-point in their history and the next few weeks and months will
be decisive. Everyone, not least the Sudanese people, stands to lose if the Governments of Sudan and
South Sudan resort to war at the expense of peace and continue to defer their responsibility to resolve
the post secession-issues. There can be no hope of stability and prosperity for Sudan or South Sudan
without an end to the bloody conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The future of each state
is inter-linked with the other.
The African Union has done much to encourage all parties to the conflicts to peacefully resolve their
differences. However, as China and the United States have both recognised, African-led solutions to
African problems require the backing of the international community. We hope that the governments of
the United States and the People’s Republic of China can undertake the necessary cooperation to
provide leadership to this broader international effort.
Specifically, we wish to highlight the following priority concerns
1. Implementation of the requirements of the African Union and UN Security Council
The demands made by the AU Peace and Security Council in its communiqué of 24 April (PSC/MIN/3
(CCXIX)) and press statement of 12 April (PSC/PR/BR/2.(CCCXVII)) and by the UN Security Council in the
Presidential Statements of 6 March (S/PRST/2012/5) and 12 April (S/PRST/2012/12) should be met in full
by Sudan and South Sudan as a matter of utmost urgency.
A peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Sudan and South Sudan requires that all postsecession
issues be addressed in a holistic manner. We urge you to press the two parties urgently to
conclude a comprehensive package of agreements on the outstanding issues laid out by the AU and UN
An important first step will be to convince the presidents to meet immediately in a summit as previously
planned in order to advance the issues that stand in the way of achieving lasting peace.
Given the urgency of the situation in the border areas, we further propose that your governments jointly
lead a mission by the UN Security Council to Juba and Khartoum at the earliest opportunity to
demonstrate the Council’s commitment to assisting the parties to reach their goal of two viable states
peacefully coexisting as neighbours.
2. Cessation of attacks on civilians, a cessation of hostilities and unimpeded humanitarian access
across Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, Sudan
It is now critical that the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North end
all violence and agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State.
As demanded by the UN Security Council (S/PRST/2012/5), all diplomatic efforts should be expended to
ensure that Khartoum accepts the UN, AU and League of Arab States proposal to facilitate unimpeded
humanitarian access, which has been agreed to by the SPLM-N. As the Council emphasized, the urgency
of delivering humanitarian assistance is grave. Diplomatic efforts are needed to ensure that aid reaches
affected civilians as soon as possible, especially in view of the impending rainy season.
3. Expeditious finalisation of transitional financial arrangements, including oil transit fees
The joint, coordinated influence of the governments of the United States and China is needed to impress
upon Sudan and South Sudan the need to reach mutual agreements on transitional financial and
commercial oil arrangements without delay. The decision to stop the flow of oil will have dramatic and
immediate adverse impacts for vulnerable groups in the two countries, and these will rapidly spread to
all sectors of both populations. Oil revenue is the essential lifeline for the two economies and therefore
its restoration is key to their immediate stability and future viability.
4. Prompt resolution of the future status of Abyei and demarcation of the border
Both Sudan and South Sudan must withdraw their security forces from the Abyei Area and facilitate the
establishment of the Abyei Area Administration as soon as possible, in accordance with the 20 June
2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area
(S/2011/384). Both states must also accelerate implementation of the 29 June 2011 Agreement on
Border Security and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism to ensure that the area of operations for
the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone and the area of operations for border monitors are agreed upon as a
matter of urgency. These are the minimum preconditions required to enable the two states to reach a
mutually acceptable and final agreement on the status of Abyei.
5. End international arms transfers to Sudan and South Sudan
At this moment of high tension between the two Sudans, it is vital that arms transfers to either
government cease where these may potentially fuel conflict, be diverted to non-state groups or be used
for violations of international law. We call on your government to show leadership on this matter as an
essential step to achieve peace.
6. Respect for human rights and the rule of law
In its March 6 statement, the Security Council declared that the core objectives of the international
community in Sudan and South Sudan are the peaceful co-existence of two fully viable states, embracing
democratic governance, rule of law, accountability, equality, and respect for human rights, justice and
economic development. As part of your efforts to support this outcome, we urge you to work closely
with the Chinese government to engage both governments to uphold their international obligations and
responsibilities in this regard.
As organisations engaged in the effort to build peace and assist the people of Sudan and South Sudan to
achieve security and prosperity, we would welcome the opportunity to engage in further dialogue with
representatives of your government on these questions.
Please be assured of our highest consideration,
Dr. Albaqir Mukhtar, Director, Al Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development
Mr. Osman Hummaida, Executive Director, Africa Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
Ambassador Ochieng Adala, Acting Executive Director, Africa Peace Forum
Mr. Haggag Nayel, Secretary General, Arab Coalition for Darfur (ACD) (representing 135 Arab civil society
organisations) and President, Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA)
Mr. Bakri Abdelbasit, Executive Director, Blue Nile Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization
Mr. Ziad Abdel Tawab, Deputy Director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Mr Edmund Yakani, Program Coordinator, Community Empowerment Progress Organization (CEPO)
Mr. Elsadig Ali Hassan, General Secretary, Darfur Bar Association
Mr. Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director, Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC)
Mr. Khogali Bashir, Executive Director, Funj Youth Development Association (FYDA)
Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru, Programme Head of Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis, Institute for
Security Studies (ISS)
Mr. Dismas Nkunda, Co-Director, International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)
Mr. Awad Khamis Waren, Executive Director, Kamma Organization for Development Initiatives (KODI)
Ms. Najwa Musa Konda, Executive Director, Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization
Mr. Abdelmonim El Jak, Coordinator, Sudan Democracy First Group
Cc. H.E. Ms. Sudan Rice
United States Mission to the United Nations
H.E. Princeton Lyman,
U.S. Envoy to Sudan
For correspondence with the signatories of this letter, please contact Crisis Action:
email@example.com or +254 20 386 1625