UN Secretary General calls for urgent action to avert major crisis in South Sudan


ECA Press Release No. 07/2012

Addis Ababa, 29 January 2012 (ECA) - The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban ki-Moon has warned that unless African countries take immediate action to resolve the simmering conflict between South Sudan and Sudan, it could easily degenerate into a serious humanitarian crisis.

Addressing a news conference in Addis Ababa today, the UN official revealed that he had met bilaterally with several African leaders present at the 18th African Union Summit to express his concerns and call for action.

But he conceded that ultimately, it would be up to the leaders of the two Sudans to demonstrate the necessary political will to resolve their differences through dialogue, Mr. Ban said.

Pressed by a reporter on the role the UN recently played in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya, Mr. Ban refuted the insinuation that the West was using the organization to further its interests in Africa.

He said that it is totally wrong to say that the UN was used by the West against the will of the peoples of these two countries, because in each of the two cases, the UN General Assembly adopted relevant resolutions in the interest of peace and security of the local populations.
Lack wise, it is untrue to characterize the laudable work of the International Criminal Tribunal as targeting exclusively African leaders, Mr. Ban stated, adding that it is an entirely independent institution that is not under the control of the United Nations.

He equally disagreed with the suggestion that the UN had failed in Somalia, citing the recent re-opening of a UN office in Mogadishu for the first time in 17 years as one of the signs that things were improving in the war-torn country.

Mr. Ban also recalled having been the first UN SG to visit the country in 19 years when he went there recently.

On the ongoing violence in Syria, the Secretary-General regretted the decision by the Arab League to end its monitoring mission in the country, but said that he was sure the decision had been arrived at after careful and extensive considering.

He again called on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to take the necessary steps to end the violence.

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa