7 January 2013

Sudan: Misseriya Want to Settle in Abyei Before Referendum

Khartoum — Misseriya leaders said they are decided to settle in Abyei during this year to participate in the referendum over the future of the area which is claimed by Sudan and South Sudan.

Mahdi Babo Nimir; a leading tribal figure told reporters in Khartoum Monday after a meeting with presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie, they discussed Abyei issue and recent tribal clashes of Folla in South Kordofan between the Misseriya tribal groups.

He further said they informed Nafie of their decision to settle in Abyei during the summer and autumn seasons.

Adding they it is a crucial step to have the upper hand one the area and to avoid Abyei's annexation to South Sudan.

Nimir went to point out that they do not want to embarrass the government in its commitments towards the international community, adding they stick to their rights in the disputed region .

The divergent positions of Khartoum and Juba over the participation of the Misseriya nomads in the referendum hampered the organisation of the vote as scheduled in January 2011.

In a bid to end the difference over Abyei referendum, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) endorsed a proposal providing to exclude the Misseriya from a referendum to be held in October of this year, despite Khartoum's rejection.

The mediation says its proposal is in line with the rule of the Arbitration tribunal, while Sudan stresses that in accordance with the geographic criteria agreed by the parties - border line of 1956 define the territory of North and South Sudan- the region is part of the current Sudanese territory.

Nimir said they asked the government to support their demarche to settle the nomads permanently in Abyei.

The African peace and security body is to meet on 13 January at the level the presidents of head of states and governments to decide whether or not to refer the proposal to the UN Security Council.

Vice-presidents Ali Osman Taha and Adam Al-Haj Yassein is touring the AUPSC countries to convince them to not follow the mediation in its proposal and give the parties more time to reach a negotiated deal.

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