14 December 2012

Sudan: AU Peace and Security Council Delays Abyei's Referral to January Meeting

Khartoum — African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decided to stick to its acceptance to a proposal aiming to hold a referendum next year in Abyei, but did not refer it to the Un Security Council.

In a communiqué released on Saturday morning, the AUPSC referred "the determination on the issue of the Final Status of Abyei to its meeting at the level of the Heads of State and Government, to be held on the margins of the 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, in Addis Ababa, in January 2013."

The continent's security body in its 349 meeting held on Friday however maintained its initial acceptance of the proposal made by the mediation calling to organise a referendum in October 2013 where only Nogk Dinka and a minority of Misseriya residing the disputed area can decide to remain part of Sudan or join the South Sudan.

The meeting said the Proposal is "a fair, equitable and workable solution to the dispute between the two countries, which takes into account existing Agreements entered into by the Parties, as well as the needs and interests of the communities on the ground."

Khartoum said opposed to the mediation proposal and warned that it would not cede Abyei which is part of the Sudanese territory even if the Security Council endorse the proposal in a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Ali Karti, Sudan's foreign minister, in his speech before the AUSPC on Friday called to not refer the proposal to the UN Security Council insisting on "its complicated nature and local character".

Khartoum says more discussions are needed to reach a solution satisfying all the parties. However it previously accepted a first proposal the mediation had made calling to divide the region between the two countries.

Juba, which is in favour of the proposal and immediately announced its acceptance since last September , said supportive to AUPSC decisions over the issue.

Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson, Al-Obeid Ahmed Marawah, told the official SUNA from Addis Ababa, that Britain, French and U.S. representatives asked to refer Abyei issue to the Security Council.

He added that the Chinese and Russian envoys indicated their preference for the resolution of the conflict at the African level.

The mediation in its report to the meeting regretted that to two parties failed to meet to discuss Abyei final status or the establishment of an interim administration they agreed since 20 June 2011.

However the AUPSC in its communiqué took in consideration the meetings the two parties held during the past two days in Addis Ababa to discuss the formation of Abyei interim institutions.

Abyei Joint Oversight Committee(AJOC) held two meetings on Thursday and Friday chaired by Thabo Mbeki with the participation of a representative of the UNISFA to discuss the situation in Abyei and ways to establish the administration and the legislative council.

Sudan communicated a list of six people three nominated for the post of speaker of the local parliament and other three for deputy administrator of Abyei. Juba has to choose one of the three candidates for each position before their appointment.

Luka Biong, AJOC co-chair, pledged to give the response of his government within a week.

Juba in the past demanded that Khartoum appoints a Nogk Dinka for the position of the speaker but the Sudanese side rejected such demand.

After the AUPSC decision of 24 October supporting the mediation proposal, Juba said willing to implement the deal on the interim institutions.

Khartoum recently demanded to adjourn an AJOC meeting to prepare a new list of its candidates for the two posts.

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