3 December 2012

South Sudan: Abyei - South Sudanese Activities Urge AU and UNSC Involvement

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
The aftermath of a past attack on Abyei (file photo).

A group of South Sudanese activists on Sunday expressed concerns over delay by the two Sudans to implement the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Abyei region.

The Security Council, last month, agreed to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Abyei, while urging both Sudan and South Sudan to work towards peaceful resolution of the dispute in the contested oil-producing region.

The UNSC resolution on Abyei expires on 31 May 2013.

However, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said they remain concerned that representatives on the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) from both countries have made very little progress, yet the resolution deadline is drawing closer.

"The United Nations Security Council, African Union and League of Arab states should play a key role and resolve Abyei's issue finally without any deferral", CEPO said, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decided on 24 October to give a six-week delay to Khartoum and Juba to strike a deal on Abyei, based on a proposal made by an African panel mediating between the two countries.

The Council also decided to hold the referendum in October 2013 and to refer its decision seeking the support of UN SC, if the two parties fail to reach a deal during the 6-week period.

Khartoum already rejected the proposal, which provides to hold a referendum without the participation of the Misseriya nomads and said not concerned by the position of the AUPSC, accusing "foreign circles" of instigating this decision.

Luka Biong Deng, South Sudan's AJOC co-chair, last week said African regional body, would have to be fully involved in the conduct of Abyei referendum, should neighbouring Sudan reject the UNSC proposals on the status on of the disputed area.

"It will be a great test to the leadership and ability of the regional body to independently and confidently handle it affairs without external intervention, if Sudan rejects the proposal on the status of Abyei when it is endorsed by the Security Council of the United Nations", Deng told Sudan Tribune in an interview.

Sudan has in recent weeks, staged a diplomatic campaign to explain why it remains opposed to the AUPSC decision, arguing that the imposition of an external decision, will not resolve the conflict.

Sudanese President, Omer Al-Bashir recently announced Abyei is located north to the 1956 border and that only the Sudanese parliament can modify Abyei referendum law.

Last week, Sudan's foreign minister, Ali Karti, in a bid to explain his country's position over the conflict in Abyei, toured Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Other officials as vice president Al-Haj Adam Youssef and presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie also visited some other African countries.

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