Joint AU, UN delegation to visit Abyei on Thursday

March 13, 2018 (KHARTOUM) The Sudanese committee for the administration of Abyei area said a joint delegation from the African Union and the UN Security Council (UNSC) would visit Abyei on Thursday to inspect the situation in the contested region.

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UN peacekeepers from Ethiopia patrol the outskirts of the disputed Abyei town that straddles the border between Sudan and South Sudan on 16 September 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

The executive director of the committee Saloma Yahia Musa told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) they briefed the delegation on the performance of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), pointing to the occurrence of some irregularities from the Mission in the region.

Musa added they demanded the delegation to ensure that UNISFA acts neutrally among the various social components of Abyei region, saying the Mission is playing a positive role despite the obstacles it faces.

He further demanded the Mission to protect Abyei and its residents against the attacks of the South Sudanese army, urging the UN agencies to conduct their work in a fair manner on both sides of the area.

Ownership of Abyei, a border region disputed by Sudan and South Sudan, remained contentious after the world’s youngest nation split from Sudan in 2011.

There is no joint administration between Sudan and South Sudan, as the Ngok Dinka refuse the formation of Abyei Area Administration and the Legislative Council. Instead, they call to hold a referendum without the Sudanese pastoralist Misseriya.

Now there are two committees one for the Misseriya appointed by the Sudanese government and another for the Ngok Dinka appointed by Juba government.

On 27 June 2011, the Security Council, by its resolution 1990, responded to the urgent situation in Abyei by establishing the UNISFA.

UNISFA’s establishment came after Sudan’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarise Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provides that the contested territory remains part of the north until the organisation of a referendum determines its fate.

The difference over who will participate in the referendum prevents the two countries from holding the agreed referendum.

However, the Dinka Ngok organised a unilateral referendum from 27to 29 October 2013 to say they want to join the Republic of South Sudan.

Khartoum, Juba, the African Union and the international community refused to recognise the outcome of the vote.