Summary: 15 May 2012, Brussels - The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday urged the EU to take action on the crises in West, Central and East Africa, particularly the tensions between Sudan and South Sudan. MEPs raised questions about China's role in Sudan - South Sudan relations and said China had been more proactive than the EU and could only gain from the EU's hesitation.
"When comparing the current situation within a year, the situation has degenerated", said Véronique de Keyser (S&D, BE). She warned that although some solutions had been found to the problems of citizenship, the distribution of oil revenues and border-demarcation, Sudan and its new neighbour South Sudan were on the verge of war.
Nicholas Westcott, director for Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS), said the reason why no agreement had yet been reached was that the two countries lacked experience in coping with the situation. "South Sudan is holding on to its independence and Sudan doesn't want to break up any more", he said.
Mario Mauro (EPP, IT) said the only country that gained from the EU's delay in acting to resolve the Sudan-South Sudan conflict was China. "What is the EU's role here?" he asked. Rosalind Marsden, the EU Special Representative for Sudan, said the EU and China shared the same goal because they were both encouraging the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to develop a solution for peace. "China acts proactively because Chinese enterprises are affected by Sudanese oil," she said.