Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Sudan: situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State

Delivered in Plenary - 15th September 2011

Mr President,

Despite South Sudanís independence, there remains some unresolved disputes and tensions between the north and the south, centring on three areas: Blue Nile State and Kordofan and the troubled region of Abyei. These areas possess, perhaps unsurprisingly, significant oil reserves and large water supplies. There is a complex ethnic and tribal mix inhabiting these key regions, with different allegiances towards Juba and Khartoum, so the 2005 CPA gave specific provisions for a popular referendum in Blue Nile State and South Kordofan, enabling residents of these districts to determine their own future. Regrettably, the pro-Khartoum Governor in Kordofan suspended the planned referendum, causing skirmishes between the SPLA and the Sudanese army, the SAF, which then invaded, causing 6 000 people to become internally displaced.

The security situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State has deteriorated alarmingly in recent weeks and there is targeting of the ethnic Nuba group which is pro South Sudan. The ECR Group condemns without reserve the SAF cross-border invasion into Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State. The International Criminal Court indicted war criminal President Bashir, and his regime should, without delay, now declare a unilateral two-week ceasefire to prevent further bloodshed. Khartoum must also honour its legal obligations by adhering to all the provisions set out in the CPA of 2005.

The EU has been taking a leading role in the current crisis. The High Representative has joined the UN Secretary-General and the President of this House in condemning the downward spiral of violence. These festering, unresolved territorial disputes and tribal conflicts risk undoing all the good work of the international community and risk a return to all-out war between the north and the south.