Summary: 6 September 2011, Brussels - The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today on the eruption of fighting in Blue Nile State (Republic of Sudan):
"The High Representative is deeply concerned about the eruption of fighting in Blue Nile state on 1 September between the Sudan Armed Forces, supported by the Popular Defence Forces, and the forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A)-North. These clashes represent a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Southern Kordofan state which has been going on since 5 June, amidst reports of serious human rights violations and continuing lack of humanitarian access.
The High Representative calls on both parties to stop fighting immediately and to resume negotiations on reaching a political solution to the conflict based on the 28 June Agreement signed in Addis Ababa. She is disappointed that there has been no follow-up to the meeting between President Bashir and SPLM/A Chairman Malik Agar in Khartoum on 21 August.
She reminds the parties of their responsibility to protect civilians and calls on the Sudan Armed Forces to stop aerial bombing. She also urges both parties to allow immediate unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and human rights monitoring.
The High Representative is also deeply concerned about the Government of Sudan’s decision to ban the SPLN-North, to close its offices and reported arrests of SPLM-North party members. She urges the Government of Sudan to revert to a peaceful political process to resolve all outstanding issues.”