June 9, 2012 (WAU) - South Sudan on Saturday said that the United Nations has “officially” confirmed the illegal presence of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the oil contested border of Abyei, describing presence of the forces as violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2046.
The resolution on May 2 called on both sides to withdraw from Abyei and all other border areas and to return to talks on security and other issues related to South Sudan’s independence last year.
However, Sudanese permanent representative to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, has ruled out the withdrawal of the forces deployed at the oil fields, as they were there to "protect and ensure the safety and security of our oil infrastructures."
Daniel Awet Akot, Deputy Speaker of the South Sudan’s National Assembly criticised the international community for its stance on the issue.
South Sudan has accused the international community of moral equivalence on Abyei, claiming that it has implemented its side of the June 2011 Abyei agreement but Khartoum had not been held to account.
When South Sudan occupied Heglig for 10 days in April, the international community roundly condemned the young nation. Akot told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that this was unfair, considering the aerial and ground attacks SAF have made against Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Upper Nile.
Akot said that Sudan’s attacks violated not only the "territorial integrity of the Republic South Sudan as sovereignty state but international law which Sudan has ratified”.
The senior official of the country’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said that the SAF had not completely withdrawn from Abyei.
“The Force commander of the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei has himself admitted and straightforwardly told African Union High Implementation Panel before our delegation in the talks in Addis Ababa, on Thursday 7, that 150 Sudanese armed forces are still in Abyei, as police force guarding oil field in Kej (Diffra), which is not agreed”, said Akot.
Regional and international attempts to break deadlocks over claims in the disputed border area have failed to make significant progress.
Juac Agok, a Deputy Chair of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the area, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that he felt that citizens of Abyei had been let down by the international community, particularly by the United Nations and African Union.
"Sudan sees United Nations Security Council and the African Union as playing clubs. It does not see the independence of the African Union as continental body. It also does not see UN as independent international organisation," Agok said.
The differences over Abyei had nothing to do with religion, he said, but "purely a territorial reality." The southern-aligned Dinka Ngok claim Abyei as their own and would be expected to vote to join South Sudan if the referendum ever takes place.
Abyei was due to hold a referendum to decide whether it would remain officially part of Sudan, or join newly independent South Sudan in January 2011. The vote, scheduled as part of a landmark north-south peace deal, did not go ahead due to dispute over who should be allowed to take part.
Khartoum insists that nomadic cattle herders - the Misseriya, also be allowed to vote.
Talks between the two parties over Abyei did not mark tangible progress due to Juba refusal to allow Khartoum to appoint the head of Abyei legislative council. South Sudan says President Bashir does not want to nominate someone from the Dinka Ngok as he pledged in a gentleman agreement.
Agok said that Sudan’s ruling-National Congress Party (NCP) is fooling Arab countries into believing that the conflict in the area is connected to religion and Arabic culture when in fact it is purely a fight over resources than territorial reality.