16 December 2012

South Sudan: Juba Accepts Khartoum's Nominations for Abyei Administration

Photo: UN Photo/Tim McKulka
Fleeing conflict (file photo).

Juba — South Sudan said on Saturday it has received and accepted a new list of Sudan's governing National Congress Party's (NCP) nominations for various positions into the joint interim administration in Abyei.

Delegations from Sudan and South Sudan met on Thursday and Friday to discuss the formation of interim institutions in Abyei as it is agreed in a deal they signed on 20 June 2011.

The process was blocked by their difference over who will head Abyei legislative council. In accordance with the deal, Khartoum has to nominate someone of from the area to occupy this position but Juba stipulated later he must be a member of Ngok Dinka. Sudan rejected the demand.

Luka Biong, co-chair of Abyei steering committee, told Sudan Tribune from Addis Ababa on Saturday that South Sudan accepted the persons that Khartoum nominated to the position of the deputy administrator and the speaker in the meeting held this week in Addis Ababa.

"It was in this meeting where Sudanese lead negotiator presented their new list which we accepted, because the government of South Sudan has already told the international community our commitment to implement all the agreements we signed without conditions," he said.

The African union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) in a meeting held on 14 December welcomed the steps taken by the two parties on establish these two executive and legislative bodies.

It however adjourned the transfer of its 24 October decision on the organisation of a referendum next year in Abyei without the participation of the nomads in this process to another meeting it will held in January at the level of the head of states.

Biong said that the AUPSC was not able to conclude discussions on the African High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) report, particularly the proposal on Abyei and the final status of contested and claimed border areas.

"Discussions at various levels accepted the proposal of the panel. The foreign ministers and Ambassadors from the African Union member states have accepted the proposal. The African Union Peace and Security Council has also done the same. It reiterated acceptance of the Proposal for the resolution of the Final Status of Abyei Area, as submitted by the AUHIP on 27 September 2012," said Biong.

He pointed out that the delay of its decision on the final status of Abyei January meeting aims to make it easy for the UN Security Council to endorse it

"The involvement of the African heads of state will give it a heavy weight and will make it easy for the Security Council to endorse it," he stressed.

Sudanese government which campaigned for more discussions and said opposed to the referral of the mediation's proposal, showed confidence after the AUPSC decision to postpone the transfer to January saying the decision will create suitable atmosphere for talks between the two sides.

Khartoum and Juba failed during the past years to agree on the implementation of Abyei Protocol which provide to hold a referendum to decide if the population of the region wantto join South Sudan or to remain part of South Kordofan.

They diverge over who can vote in this referendum. Sudanese government says the Misseriya nomads should participate in the vote but Juba rejects this demand saying only those who reside permanently can vote pointing to the Dinka Ngok and Misseriya settled there.

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