Radio Tamazuj 07/11/23
South Sudan and Sudan must respect the demilitarization of Abyei and
evacuate their forces, UN Security Council members urged on Monday, as
senior officials reported on the latest political, security, and
humanitarian developments, including the impact of ongoing fighting in
Sudan on agreement on the final status of the disputed area.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping
Operations, briefing the Council on the United Nations Interim
Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), whose mandate renewal will be
considered by the Council next week, said the outbreak of armed
conflict in Sudan in April interrupted encouraging signs of dialogue
between Sudan and South Sudan earlier in 2023 and effectively put on
hold the political process with regard to the final status of Abyei
and border issues.
“The United Nations, in close coordination with the African Union,
remains ready to support a resumption of dialogue and is monitoring
the situation for the conditions that might allow for this,” he said.
The presence of approximately 200 South Sudan People’s Defence Forces
(SSPDF) and South Sudan National Police Service personnel in southern
Abyei, and an estimated 60 Sudanese oil police in northern Abyei,
contradict UNISFA’s mandate and Abyei’s demilitarized and weapons-free
status, resulting in restrictions on the Mission’s freedom of
movement, he pointed out, calling once again on relevant authorities
for their withdrawal.
The Mission has worked to facilitate humanitarian assistance to an
estimated 220,000 vulnerable people in the central and southern parts
of Abyei, including those displaced in intercommunal clashes and
others fleeing the fighting in Sudan, he continued, reporting that, in
Abyei, the Sudan crisis has resulted in an influx of displaced people,
with the UN’s humanitarian partners recording over 9,000 people at
Amiet Market who have sought refuge from the fighting.
“With the conflict in Sudan, the conditions are not conducive for
talks on the final status of Abyei,” said Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, Special
Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa.
Nevertheless, representatives of Abyei communities expressed the need
to maintain the Abyei issue on the agenda of the UN and African Union.
Pointing to the tense security and dire humanitarian situations in
South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, exacerbated by the conflict
between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces, she urged
the international community to pursue a comprehensive political
strategy dealing with the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile
and the final status of Abyei.
In the debate that followed, Council members voiced concern about
stalled political progress toward Abyei’s permanent settlement and the
impact of the conflict in Sudan to that end. Speakers also pointed to
the presence of security forces from both Sudan and South Sudan in
Abyei in violation of its demilitarized and weapons-free status and
called on both sides to withdraw their troops and return to dialogue.
The representative of the United States was among the speakers who
voiced concern over the continued presence in Abyei of South Sudanese
and Sudanese armed groups, threatening its demilitarized status. He
called on all armed groups to depart the region and called on the
Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to evacuate their forces.
Emphasizing the importance of UNISFA peacekeepers’ safety, he urged
the parties to the conflict to provide safe passage and freedom of
movement to all personnel — a call also made by other delegations.