December 9, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The other referendum on Abyei oil producing area will not be held, as it is initially agreed in the 2005 peace agreement, said the heavy weight Sudanese presidential assistant Nafei Ali Nafei..
- Former presidential assistant Nafei Ali Nafei (ST)
"The referendum will not take place," Nafei said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on Wednesday.
The presidential assistant was consistent with statements made by the US State Department spokesperson Philip J. Crowley who said on the same day it is "virtually impossible" to organize Abyei referendum as agreed in the CPA.
"I think we have a recognition that that referendum will not go forward on January 9th, but we continue to encourage the parties to work on a solution to Abyei," said Crowley.
The two signatories of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) have failed to agree on who can participate in this referendum despite a rule by the arbitration tribunal confirming a previous report giving the major part of the disputed area to the nine Dinka Ngok chiefdoms who want to join the expected new state in southern Sudan.
Nafei further echoed the position of the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir when he stressed that the self-determination referendum can only take place "if all the people of Abyei participate, not just the Ngok Dinka".
Last Monday 7 December, the head of the African Union panel that facilitates the implementation of the 2005 peace deal said the parties have agreed on Abyei issue without further details.
The announcement came after a presidential meeting attended by Al-Bashir and his two deputies Salva Kiir and Ali Osman Taha to discuss proposals Thabo Mbeki had submitted on 28 November to end the thorny dispute on Abyei.
Mbeki reportedly suggested to put aside the referendum and to reach a political agreement on one of six proposals he put on the negotiating table.
According to the leaked proposals, Abyei would be annexed to southern Sudan by a presidential decree granting political and pastoral rights to the Misseriya. It also proposes to divide the region between northern and southern Sudan, besides the organization of the referendum.
The population of Abyei region in accordance with the CPA, have to decide on whether they want to remain part of southern Kordofan state in northern Sudan or join Western Bahr el-Ghazal in southern Sudan.
Abyei vote has initially to take place on the same day where southerners have to decide on their future relations with the northern part of the country
In the past, Dinka Nogk and Misseriya blamed the two peace partners for excluding them from solutions they had negotiated and they are expected to reject future deals if they are not consulted before.
Also a political agreement on Abyei might push to amend the constitution and lead to a complicated series of measures brushing aside the inviolability of the 2005 peace.