The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution on Wednesday that threatens Sudan and South Sudan with sanctions if the east African neighbors fail to produce a written commitment to halt the escalating conflict and resume negotiations on disputes within two weeks.
The U.N. Council resolution on Sudan and South Sudan, former civil war foes that split when the south seceded last year, follows weeks of border fighting that have raised fears Khartoum and Juba could launch an all-out war, after failing to resolve a string of disputes over oil revenues and border demarcation.
The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution giving Sudan and South Sudan 48 hours to halt hostilities or face the potential sanctions.
With Russia and China joining the growing calls for a halt to the growing border conflict, the 15-member council gave strong backing to African Union efforts to halt violence and get peace negotiations started.
Russia and China had opposed talk of sanctions during negotiations on the resolution.
The U.S.-drafted resolution calls on the neighbors, which separated last year, to “immediately cease all hostilities” and withdraw troops to their own territory. It says they must give a written commitment within 48 hours to the African Union and the Security Council.
The council ordered the two sides to start peace talks within two weeks under the auspices of African Union mediators.
The resolution threatens “additional measures” under Article 41 of the U.N. Charter − which allows for non-military sanctions − if either side fails.
U.S. ambassador Susan Rice said Sudan and South Sudan have a long record of “promises made and promises broken.”
Sudan and South Sudan separated in July last year and tensions have quickly risen since then − with no border agreed nor an accord on how to share revenue from oil reserves which straddle the two sides.