UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The conflict in Sudan that is affecting nearly half a million people is "unconscionable and unacceptable," the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said.
South Sudan in July became an independent nation under the terms of a comprehensive peace agreement reached in 2005. That agreement aimed to end one of the world's bloodiest civil wars though ongoing ethnic, border and oil disputes threaten to unravel the peace deal.
Sudanese officials blamed counterparts in South Sudan for fomenting violence across the border.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned that violence in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states was bringing the state of emergency "one step short of full-scale famine."
Both sides to the conflict blame the other for the violence. The United Nations, however, continues to call for the arrest of Sudanese officials, including President Omar al-Bashir, on war crimes charges.
Rice described the situation in the region as "exceedingly grave," noting Sudanese officials continue to deny international relief organizations and members of the United Nations access to southern border states embroiled in conflict.
"The (Security) Council discussed this at some length, and really, this is a situation that is unconscionable and unacceptable," she said.