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Published on 06 August, 2012

Peace talks fail between the Sudans

Sudan (MNN) —  The Sudans
are teetering on the edge of war. 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Juba, South Sudan's capital,
Friday, expressing U.S. concern over the bitter dispute between Juba and
Khartoum (Sudan's capital).

The
UN Security Council gave the two countries until August 2 to reach a deal or
face sanctions. Matt Parker with Kids
Alive International
says, "That deadline has now passed; there has been no
resolution. The talks have stalled."

The
main points of discord involve insecure borders and oil. The refineries are in the South, but the
pipelines run to the North. Where there's oil, there's money, and the two
countries are fighting over territory and oil rights. "Oil is really the lifeline of both
economies. As a result of the conflict, a lot of the oil production has been stopped, and that's having a
devastating effect. "

Parker
goes on to make note of another matter behind the conflict. "One of the
key issues has been citizenship. People who've lived in Sudan all their lives lost
their citizenship. They've had to take up South Sudan citizenship, and there's
been a question mark over the past few months over what will happen."

July 9 was the one-year
anniversary of South Sudan becoming its own nation, yet little else but conflict
has welcomed the fledgling state. The
uncertainty, fueled by angry disillusionment, has led to protests.

The crisis is exploding as the rainy season descends fully upon
this area, and humanitarian resources are overwhelmed. The situation is complicated by Khartoum's continued denial of humanitarian
access to rebel-controlled areas within its border. 

They're still bombarding some of those areas into submission and,
in the process, creating a steady stream of thousands of refugees every day. Non-Government
Organizations say those fleeing are driven by desperate hunger, a lack of
water, and air attacks. The situation
is so fluid that it's hard to get a precise count of refugees, but estimates are
around 300,000 in the camps, with up to 4,000 more coming daily.

Things
are getting difficult for Kids Alive in Sudan.
Parker explains, "Obviously, as a Christian organization, it is
increasingly difficult to work in Khartoum because of the Islamic government.
But we continue to be committed to that for as long as we're able to be
there."

Disruption to the work of Kids Alive is inevitable with an influx of refugees that
size. While they're committed to their
work in both Sudan and South Sudan, some things have been put on the back
burner. "We would have liked to have [proceeded] with the construction of a new
children's home. That is our plan down in south Sudan, but we've had to
delay that a little bit because of the
current situation," says Parker. "We're
monitoring things very closely. Obviously, our primary concern is the safety
of our children and our staff."

The
Boys Hope Center in Khartoum serves children in need through several
programs. The Children's Home is located on
the edge of Khartoum and consists of several homes for over forty
orphaned children who previously had been living on the streets.

Meanwhile
in South Sudan, the Outreach Center
provides a safe place for street children to receive a meal and take a shower.
Often these are orphaned refugees fleeing from war-torn and drought-ridden
regions. While at the center, the children take part in Bible studies, crafts,
and other activities to enrich their lives.

As
more refugees return to their homes in Southern Sudan, the problem of homeless
children in Wau becomes greater. The returnees find a devastated land without
good roads, hospitals, schools, or jobs. This poverty leaves many parents unable
to provide for their children, leaving them to wander the streets.

This
ministry in southern Sudan consists of a Care Center serving about 40 street
children and a Children's Home for the most vulnerable children. With such a
need in this area, there are plans to grow this critical ministry.

Parker
says they're monitoring the situation carefully. The Gospel was the first introduction to hope
for these kids. "We are committed,
obviously, to meeting children's physical needs and providing them with an
education. But as an organization, we are committed to sharing with these
children the love of Christ."

No
new talks are scheduled. Sudan's
President Omar al-Bashir last week turned down a last-minute summit with his counterpart
from South Sudan. Parker says, "Pray
for a resolution to the current situation between Sudan and South Sudan. Pray that those differences would be
resolved and that there would be peace in both countries."

Check
our Featured Links section for ways to help Kids Alive International in Sudan.

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About Sudan

  • Primary Language: Arabic, Standard
  • Primary Religion: Islam
  • Evangelical: 14.7%
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