UNSC: Sudan peace accord at 'critical stage'

The Security Council extended the 13,500-strong UN peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan for a year Thursday, deploring the persistent violence in the region and warning the 2005 peace agreement that ended two decades of fighting is at "a critical stage." The unanimously adopted resolution stresses the importance of "full and expeditious implementation" of the peace deal, noting that key issues remain unresolved including the north-south boundary and the future of oil-rich Abyei, just north of the disputed border. "The Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended one of Africa's longest and bloodiest civil wars and remains the bedrock for peace and security in Sudan," Britain's UN Ambassador John Sawers told the council. US Ambassador Susan Rice called the agreement "vital to bringing lasting peace to the people of Sudan."