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As Rice Says S. Sudan "Needs to Go" from Heglig, Wonder at SPLA's Weapons

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 13 -- The day after South Sudan's Ambassador Agnes Oswaha told Inner City Press that her country's army would only leave the town of Heglig if and when neutral monitors arrived, the UN told Inner City Press that there are no plans to send such monitors.

  But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, while "deploring" North Korea's defiance of the international community, remained merely "alarmed" by South Sudan's defiance.

  Inner City Press on Friday evening as the Security Council meeting on Syria ended asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about South Sudan's refusal to leave Heglig. Ambassador Rice replied, as immediately half picked up by others, "That is not good. They need to go."

  But minutes later at the now-empty Council stakeout, African diplomats marveled at the "new weapons" South Sudan is using in Heglig. "We've never seen anything like it, in the decades of conflict between North and South Sudan. And it's not Gaddafi stuff, that was outdated. This is brand new. Where do you think they're getting it from?"

  Where indeed.

Click here for "Making of the Stakeout" video on Inner City Press's YouTube channel.

 From the UN's April 13 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan. Yesterday, it was said that the Secretary-General had asked South Sudan to pull out of Heglig. The statement that was made at the stakeout late yesterday afternoon by the ambassador of South Sudan that they are not leaving; they said that they will only leave if there are neutral peacekeepers or monitors sent in. So one, I wanted to know if there is any move by the UN to respond to that statement, to actually send anyone there to try to monitor, and also whether the Secretary-General has any comment on what seems to some to be a rebuffing of the call of the international community, including the African Union, European Union, Security Council, by South Sudan in not leaving Heglig.

Spokesperson: Well, I think you put your finger on it, Matthew. The international community is rather clear about what needs to happen both with regards to Sudan and South Sudan. The Council’s presidential statement said the Security Council demands a complete, immediate and unconditional end to all fighting, withdrawal of the SPLA from Heglig and to SAF aerial bombardments, and to repeated incidents of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan, and an end to support by both sides to proxies in the other country. So, “demands”. And the Secretary-General himself, in his statement, said he was alarmed at the escalation of fighting and he called on both parties immediately to cease hostilities, remove their forces from each other’s territory and avoid further bloodshed. And he also underlined the necessity that both Governments respect the territorial integrity of the other, and ensure their own territories are not used to provide support for rebel groups. So this is the Security Council and the Secretary-General speaking very much in the same line, very similar language, and as you mentioned, other sections of the international community, as well. And crucially, it would be for the Security Council to address any further action of the kind that you have referred to. It is very clear what the international community expects both parties to do.

Inner City Press: just to put a point on it, my question is, the statement that you are giving for the Secretary-General he said it before South Sudan said openly “we are not leaving”, which they said yesterday afternoon at about 5 p.m.

Spokesperson: Well, it doesn’t change, that doesn’t change what the Secretary-General believes.

Inner City Press: my question is, you just read out a statement in which the Secretary-General deplored a country for disrespecting the international community. I wanted to know what, what is the appropriate adjective? What is his response to South Sudan’s response to the call of the four parties that we’ve mentioned?

Spokesperson: He is alarmed by the escalation.

  Some wonder, why no deploring? And where do those weapons come from? Watch this site.

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