22 June 2012

Sudan: U.S Diplomat Calls On Khartoum to Withdraw Police From Abyei

Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price
Abyei town, one of the disputed regions (file photo).

Juba — The United States' Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page, has called on the Sudanese government to implement the resolution of the UN Security Council 2046, which called for the withdrawal of the forces of both countries from the disputed region of Abyei.

The resolution 2046 urged the two countries to withdraw their forces from Abyei. South Sudan heeded to the call by withdrawing its police force from the area. Sudan withdrew its army but left behind over 150 of its police force in the area, a move that has earned criticism from the international community.

On Thursday the US Ambassador to Juba, Susan Page, said Khartoum should withdraw its police from Abyei and commended the resumption of the negotiations between South Sudan and Sudan in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Page told the press shortly after a meeting of representatives of the Troika - US, UK and Norway - donor countries with South Sudan's Vice President, Riek Machar that the withdrawal of Khartoum's police force would smooth the way for establishing an administration for the Abyei region.

Earlier this month, Sudanese permanent representative to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, ruled out the withdrawal of the forces deployed in Belila and Difra oil fields of Abyei.

"Belila and Difra are inside the Sudanese territories. (The policemen) are there to protect and ensure the safety and security of our oil infrastructures," he said.

Sudan considers this site located in northern Abyei is not part of the disputed area as it is demarcated by the arbitration court in July 2010.

Page stressed the need for the two countries to negotiate in good faith the outstanding issues and agree to the African Union's roadmap endorsed by the UN Security Council resolution 2046..

The roadmap called for demilitarisation of the border between the two countries by a distance of 10kms on both sides and identified several disputed border areas that needed to be resolved.

Juba has expressed its acceptance of the roadmap, while Khartoum has registered reservations related to the negotiation with the rebel SPLM-North as the Sudanese government say the talks should be only limited to the implementation of 2005 peace deal.

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