Clashes in southern Sudan a ‘serious violation’ of peace agreement – Annan
Sudanese armed forces and members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) have exchanged heavy fire in and around Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, over the past two days, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reported today in a news update from Khartoum.
In a statement released by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan said Malakal is currently tense but calm, adding that some civilian UNMIS staff have been temporarily relocated within southern Sudan.
A joint military delegation comprising high-level officers from UNMIS, the Sudanese armed forces and the SPLA has been dispatched to Malakal to assess the situation and devise ways to defuse the tensions.
The clashes have occurred despite the comprehensive peace agreement, signed by the two sides last year, which ended a brutal civil war that had raged in the south since 1983. Under the power-sharing agreement, a Government of National Unity was created along with a Government of Southern Sudan.
In the statement Mr. Annan said he appeals to both governments “to make all possible efforts to contain the situation, and expresses the hope that any differences in the area will be resolved peacefully.”
UNMIS added that it is stepping up measures to protect its staff, and those of humanitarian agencies, based in Malakal.