Washington, DC — Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing:
QUESTION: On Sudan, I understand you are - are you concerned about the situation there, and are you're talking to the two parties to avoid a new war?
MS. NULAND: Well, we're very concerned and we will likely have another statement later today which strongly condemns the military offensive incursion into Southern Kordofan state, Sudan by the SPLA today, and also that again condemns the ongoing aerial bombardment of civilian areas by the Sudanese Armed Forces. We're calling for a cessation of all hostilities by all sides.
Our envoy, Princeton Lyman, has been in touch today with the UN special envoy and the African Union and is also seeking to be in contact with both parties again today. The UN Security Council, I think you know, is being briefed or was briefed this morning on the operations of the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei, discussing peacekeeping operations, et cetera. And as presidency of the UN Security Council this month, we are intent on keeping Sudan very much in - and South Sudan very much in focus.
QUESTION: You, in fact, are coming out and strongly condemning the SPLA today --
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: -- which is something unusual.
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: Was it a mistake for the United States to be so supportive of the SPLA and of South Sudan for so many years, if they can't be trusted to keep an agreement?
MS. NULAND: Well, I think our concern all along has been that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that both sides signed up to has not been implemented. And after independence, there were more things that were supposed to happen. And we've made clear that we have concerns about violence along the border region. We have been even-handed; when we see violent behavior by either side, we have called it out. So that's what we're doing again today.
Look, there are unresolved conflicts that can only be resolved through dialogue. There are borders that need to be set. There are resources that have to be shared. There are humanitarian reasons for these two states to work together and create a peaceful neighborhood. But it wasn't peaceful before independence either, so --
QUESTION: No, but do you - are there people who are now a bit concerned or perhaps saying - giving - having second thoughts about whether you should have been so active in supporting the Southern Sudanese?
MS. NULAND: I think the concern is that there has been violence rather than dialogue to settle these issues. And when violence has happened from the North, it's been met by a violent response, and both sides need to come to the table rather than use weapons on these problems.
Yeah. Please, Scott.
QUESTION: On that, when last we heard from Ambassador Lyman when he had that humanitarian conference call, he was saying that the United States was pushing Khartoum to open these humanitarian corridors. One of the reasons they say that they are not doing that is because of these SPLA attacks in Heglig. So do you think that the actions by the government in Juba are complicating Khartoum's acceptance of opening humanitarian corridors?
MS. NULAND: Well, let's start with Khartoum's week after week of aerial bombardment of the region. So they're - they haven't been angels either in this situation. So this is something that we are calling out here today that we've got problems with both sides, and we're calling for restraint and cessation of violence by all sides.
QUESTION: So it's a lie? There are no angels in Sudan?
QUESTION: Can we go back to Syria?
MS. NULAND: Yes.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:09 p.m.)
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