4 December 2012

Sudanese Foreign Minister Predicts Additional Time Over Abyei

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

Khartoum — Sudanese foreign Ali Karti minister said confident that the African Union would give Khartoum and Juba additional time to solve their difference over the organisation of a referendum in Abyei.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on 24 October endorsed a proposal made by a mediation team led by the former South African President Thabo Mbeki providing to hold a referendum in the dispute area of Abyei in October 2013 without the participation of Misseriya nomads.

The decision however gave the parties a six-week delay that ends on 9 December to strike a deal on this proposal. But Sudan rejected it, stressing that it has the sovereignty over the disputed region and threatening that such demarche jeopardizes the whole process.

Speaking before the Sudanese lawmakers on Tuesday, Karti reassured South Kordofan MPs saying that the African proposal "will not ever see the light of day" and it will not be referred to the United Nations Security Council as the United States of America wants, as he said.

He warned that such move would lead to sacrifice the peace sealed between the countries.

He added that his ministry has finalized a study with the help of a British law firm on how to deal with the AU proposal on to settle Abyei's contention.

The Sudanese minister insinuated that the study shows that the African Union cannot define the borders of an independent state.

He further briefed the MPs about the outcome of his African tour to explain the Sudanese position over Abyei saying they informed the African leaders that such proposal would lead to the return of war and weaken the African position after successfully bringing Khartoum and the former South Sudanese rebels to end the conflict and sign the 2005 peace agreement.

Karti, vice president Al-Haj Adam Yassein and presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie visited the countries members of the peace and security council to explain Khartoum's position before a meeting scheduled for 14 December to examine the progress that parties made in their discussions, and to decide on the referral to the Security Council.

South Sudanese Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial on Monday stated that his country will not accept "endless negotiations" with Khartoum over the final status of Abyei and expected that the AUPSC will refer the proposal to the Security Council to endorse it under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.

Karti said all the African leader are hopeful to break the stalled talks between the two countries, saying they want to put an end to this conflict but not to the "endless negotiations".

Two day ago some lawmakers demanded the Sudanese parliament to take a position over Abyei before the 14 December meeting of the AUPSC.

Mahdi Babo Nimir, a Misseriya leader, said discussions on Abyei are over and warned that the Misseriya will launch war "push the trigger" in case the Council takes a decision they are against.

Sudan and South Sudan failed to reach a compromise over who can participate in a referendum to determine the fate of the region.

If the nomads who also claim the ownership of the region participate in the referendum, the disputed region will remain part of Sudan and if they are excluded the Ngok Dinka will vote for joining the newly independent state.

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