South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Deng Dau warned against the expansion of the war in Sudan, which he said directly affects his country in terms of security, economy, politics and society.
He noted that the long border between the two countries, from east to west, embraces 12 crossings, and has allowed the evacuation of more than 40,000 nationals of 11 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia and America.
In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat from Juba, Dau stressed that his country was exerting continuous efforts for the success of an expected meeting with the parties to the conflict, with the aim to conduct a dialogue that would stop the war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.
“There is an urgent need for material and logistical support from humanitarian organizations, to meet the growing demand, in terms of relief, food, shelter and treatment for refugees in the border areas between Sudan and South Sudan...” He stated. “If the war continues until the end of the month, we will expect the number of refugees and those fleeing the country to exceed 170,000, as we receive about 500 people every day.”
He explained that the initiative launched by President Salva Kiir Mayardit for a one-week truce in Sudan, came as a result of an extension of the initiative launched by the president on April 16, and was accepted by both parties to the conflict.
According to Dau, President Salva Kiir appealed, through direct contact with the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Army, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces, Lieutenant General Mohammad Hamdan Hamidti, to stop the war, and sit around a dialogue table to resolve the crisis between the two sides.
Dau noted that the initiative put forward by the president of South Sudan was based on four axes, including a one-week cease-fire, followed by each side appointing its delegation for the talks, then specifying the location and timing of the dialogue, and finally launching the peace talks.
The foreign minister pointed to fierce clashes in Khartoum, stressing that those led to the suspension of basic services at the airport.
He also emphasized the importance of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to evacuate nationals from more than 96 countries and expressed appreciation for the Saudi-American initiative to end the conflict.
Dau said that any conflict, war or instability in Sudan will affect the countries of the region as a whole. He stressed that Juba welcomes any endeavors of the African Union, or those led by Saudi Arabia, America or other countries, as they all fall in the same direction to stop the war and achieve peace.
“Our vision is for the Sudanese to try to manage the dialogue themselves, but on the other hand, this does not preclude the engagement of other parties in the region to contribute to finding possible solutions to the crisis and achieving peace,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Regarding the effectiveness of the emergency program of the United Nations organizations on the border between the two countries, Dau explained that the border areas suffer from many humanitarian problems due to the presence of several refugee camps.
“In 2010 and 2012, there were 340,000 Sudanese refugees from the border states, such as the states of the Kordofan and White Nile regions, while the current conflict exacerbated the humanitarian situation, which requires urgent aid,” he stated.
The foreign minister said that South Sudan’s oil exports, through Port Sudan, have not been affected by the conflict so far, pointing out that the pipeline connecting Juba to Port Sudan, was not subjected to any targeting.