Following is the text of a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Støre, and United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The members of the Sudan Troika express serious concern about the announced breakdown of talks between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) this weekend.
In this sensitive period, it is critical that the NCP and SPLM maintain their dialogue and make further progress toward the creation of sustainable economic, political, and security arrangements between the two parties. To that end, we urge President Bashir and First Vice President Kiir to take steps against alleged actions that destabilize each other’s governments and territories, and to lay the ground for mutual cooperation with the goal of the creation of two viable states in July.
Mindful of the recent violence and rising tensions in the Abyei Area and the critical need for sustainable security arrangements for the people of Abyei, we call upon the parties to take immediate measures to restrain armed groups under their influence, and to resume bilateral discussions on conditions for their withdrawal. We remind both parties of their obligation to permit full access to the Abyei Area by the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), and condemn actions by armed elements to restrict the ability to UNMIS to fulfill its mandate in this area.
We also condemn the violence in Malakal, Southern Sudan, on March 12. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) rules out the existence of armed groups outside the two established forces of the parties. Allegations of support to proxies are serious, and should be investigated through established CPA mechanisms and the good offices of UNMIS. The members of the Troika stand ready to assist.
The NCP and SPLM have demonstrated, through the successful conduct of the Southern Sudan referendum and acceptance of its results, the desire to choose the path of peace and mutual cooperation. The members of the Troika will continue to support both parties in their endeavors as they stay their course. During this time of heightened tensions, within the Sudan and in the region, we strongly urge the parties to avoid taking actions that jeopardize peace, and to recommit themselves to full CPA implementation, successful conclusion of post-CPA arrangements, and a peaceful post-CPA era.