AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council today unanimously passed a resolution giving Sudan and South Sudan 48 hours to halt hostilities or face potential sanctions.
With China and Russia joining the growing calls for a halt to the growing border conflict, the 15-member council gave emphatic backing to African Union efforts to halt violence and get peace negotiations started.
Russia and China had opposed talk of sanctions during negotiations on the US-drafted resolution which calls on the neighbors to “immediately cease all hostilities” and withdraw troops to their own territory.
Resolution 2046 says they must give a written commitment to halt fighting within 48 hours to the African Union and the Security Council.
The council ordered the two sides to start peace talks within two weeks under the auspices of African Union mediators.
The resolution threatens “additional measures” under Article 41 of the UN Charter — which allows for non-military sanctions — if either side fails.
“The current conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is on the verge of becoming a full scale and sustained war,” US ambassador Susan Rice told the council.
“Both countries are on the brink of returning to the horrors of the past and threaten to take the entire region with them,” she added, referring to the civil war between the two sides before their formal separation last year. More than two million people died in the two-decade conflict up to 2005.
Tensions have quickly risen since their split in July — with no border agreed nor an accord on how to share revenue from oil reserves which straddle the two sides.