Diplomats Up Efforts To Avert War Between Sudans Critical, unresolved quarrels over issues such as oil and borders have led the two Sudans to the brink of war. A U.N. Security Council resolution gives the nations until Friday to stop fighting — or face possible sanctions. Then, they have two weeks to begin negotiating a way out of their disputes.

Diplomats Up Efforts To Avert War Between Sudans

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/151958812/151962962" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

A U.N. Security Council resolution gives the two Sudans until tomorrow to stop fighting over their oil-rich border. Otherwise, they could face sanctions. Once the fighting stops they'll have two weeks to begin negotiating a way out of their various disputes. The U.N.'s decision endorses an African Union plan that it hopes will avert a return to war between Sudan and newly-independent South Sudan.

From the South's capital, Juba, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.


OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: About two hundred South Sudanese march through the streets of Juba in a rally organized by Christian church leaders. They chant for peace and against war and also chant anti-Sudan slogans, as they unfurl huge banners condemning their northern neighbor across the border.


QUIST-ARCTON: Heglig is the main strategic oilfield in Sudan that the southern army captured last month. South Sudan said it moved to stop deadly Sudanese air strikes targeting positions in the South. South Sudan agreed to withdraw its forces after international condemnation of the occupation of Heglig.

Prophet Abraham Chol is one of the rally organizers.

ABRAHAM CHOL: We are not agreed for the international community to decide against us. This is unjustice decision.

QUIST-ARCTON: It's been seven years since the end of the long civil war between the North and South, and less than a year since South Sudan declared independence and split from Sudan. That landmark was supposed to herald a new era of peace, good neighborliness and cooperation. But many feel that critical, unresolved quarrels over oil, un-demarcated borders, citizenship, and much more have led the two Sudans back to the brink of war.

GLORIA EMMANUEL: As a nation we cannot fight. We have just come out from fighting. Independence is forever. No war, no fighting, no bloodshed again.

QUIST-ARCTON: Student marcher, Gloria Emmanuel, speaks for many South Sudanese - most of whom claim Sudan and its president, Omar Hassan Al Bashir, have declared war on them.

The South has shut down all crude oil production, accusing Sudan of charging outrageous fees for use of its pipeline and confiscating cargoes of crude oil.

EMMANUEL: Al Bashir is just a criminal. He is just taking our petrol. He's taking our oil. He's taking our land by force. This my land. It's my territory. I will fight until I get my rights.

QUIST-ARCTON: The Christian peace marchers carried a petition to foreign diplomatic missions around Juba. First stop, the U.S. embassy and an introduction by Pastor Paul Deng Joshua Lake.

REVEREND PAUL DENG JOSHUA LAKE: Your Excellency, we are here at the American embassy concerning the crisis that are taking place in our countries...

QUIST-ARCTON: The U.S. deputy chief of mission, Christopher Datta, emerges to talk to the marchers.

CHRISTOPHER DATTA: The United States congratulates the patience and the commitment to peace that the people of South Sudan have demonstrated. We understand your frustrations and we sympathize with it. And we will work very hard to try to find peace...

QUIST-ARCTON: The African Union and the U.N. Security Council warn that both sides must quit fighting, stop the bellicose rhetoric and return to the negotiating table now. South Sudan says it is ready. Sudan's president, too, has indicated that he's prepared to comply and talk peace with the South's leaders, who just recently he called insects that must be crushed.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Juba.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.