Mbeki urges UN to step in as Sudan conflict grows


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The Independent Online

The African Union mediator, Thabo Mbeki, has urged the UN Security Council to act to stop the fighting between Sudan and South Sudan, warning that the sides are locked in a "logic of war" with hardliners increasingly in control.

Security Council members promised to discuss how to tackle the crisis, including the possibility of sanctions, said Susan Rice, the US Ambassador and current Security Council president. She briefed reporters about the former South African president's closed discussion with the council via videoconference.

Mr Mbeki and Haile Menkerios, a special UN representative to Sudan, "described a disturbing situation in which both sides are locked in 'a logic of war,'" Ms Rice said. "They stressed that hardliners are winning the day in both Juba and Khartoum and urged the Security Council to engage with both governments directly to convince them to walk back their positions."

A border conflict escalated when South Sudan seized the disputed oil town of Heglig. Sudan has responded with fierce aerial bombardment of the town. The fighting is the bloodiest since South Sudan broke away from Sudan last July to become the world's newest nation. The crisis threatens to intensify into all-out war.