Thank you, Mr. President. Let me begin by congratulating you on assuming the presidency of the Council and for your kind words about our stewardship last month. We look very much forward to working with you.
The United States welcomes today's adoption of resolution 2046, which underscores the Security Council's strong and unanimous support for the Roadmap for peace between Sudan and South Sudan, as laid out by the African Union's Peace and Security Council.
The current conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is on the verge of becoming a full-scale and sustained war. It poses a clear and present threat to international peace and security. Both countries are on the brink of returning to the horrors of the past and threaten to take the entire region with them. To avoid untold devastation and suffering, the fighting must stop and stop now.
This conflict did not begin last week or last month or even last year. The tensions underlying this conflict have long roots, most recently in the unresolved issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. For months, the Security Council, the African Union, my government and many others in the international community have sent strong warnings to the parties to resolve these issues peacefully. To date, the parties have both failed to do so. In the history of this conflict, there is a long litany of promises made and promises broken. So, as this resolution indicates, we will judge the parties by their actions, not simply their words.
With this vote, the Council has clearly imposed tight deadlines for concrete action, in line with the African Union decision. This Council, especially those members with particular influence, including my own, must continue to press both parties to implement the African Union Roadmap by ending hostilities, ceasing cross-border attacks and movements, halting aerial bombardments, withdrawing all their forces from the border areas including Abyei, activating the necessary border security mechanisms, and ending support to rebel groups working against the other state.
It is also essential that both parties return at once to the negotiating table under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to reach agreement on critical outstanding issues. We support the plans of the African Union to travel to Khartoum and Juba in the coming days to begin the process. This is ultimately the only way that further conflict can be avoided.
If the parties fail to take these steps promptly, this Council is united in its determination to hold both sides accountable. We stand ready to impose Chapter VII sanctions on either or both parties, as necessary.
This resolution also directs the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North to return to the negotiating table to resolve the outstanding political and security issues that are substantially fueling the current conflict. And it strongly urges the Government of Sudan to accept the Tripartite proposal and immediately allow urgently needed humanitarian access to all of the affected areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. If they do not, untold more thousands will die needlessly.
The United States welcomes the stated commitment of South Sudan to honor the Roadmap of the African Union and to abide by the decisions of this Security Council. We welcome its announced intention as well as the beginning of the implementation of its determination to pull its police forces out of Abyei. The Government of Sudan should clarify its statement of today, to indicate its acceptance of the AU Roadmap in full and without conditions. The reports of Sudan's continued deadly bombing campaign against South Sudan, documented again firsthand on the front page of today's Washington Post, are deeply alarming and profoundly disturbing, especially following South Sudan's recent steps towards peace. The Government of Sudan must immediately halt cross-border attacks, particularly the aerial bombardments that have killed scores of civilians. Equally, South Sudan should refrain from any retaliation, especially any additional cross-border attacks. The occupation of Heglig was illegal, unacceptable and must not be repeated.
Finally, the United States calls upon both parties to implement fully and without delay all elements of the AUPSC Communiqué, starting with an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. If either or both parties fail to do so, this Council stands ready to act and to impose consequences.
I thank you, Mr. President.
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