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UPDATE: South Sudan seeks global support over Sudanese army withdrawal from Abyei

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* UN mission in Abyei confirms withdrawal of South Sudanese troops

By Ngor Arol Garang

May 11, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Friday called on the international community to exert pressure on the government of neighbouring Sudan to immediately withdraw its troops from the contested border region of Abyei.

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A UNMIS peacekeeper patrol in Abyei, Southern Sudan, Friday, March 11, 2011 (AP)

On Thursday 10 May Juba announced that it had completely withdrawn its police forces out of the contested area, as stipulated by a 2 May resolution of the UN Security Council, which called on both countries to move their forces out of the region.

South Sudan has announced that it is willing to comply with all aspects of resolution 2046, which calls on both sides to resume negotiations on post-partition issues and signed deal with three months.

The UNSC resolution endorsed the proposals of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), which also called on the Khartoum government and rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile to negotiate and end to their conflict, based on the agreement Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir discarded last year.

Bashir has expressed unwillingness to comply fully with the demands of the UN and AU. "We only do the things we want to do. And no security council or the whole world for the matter can force us to act otherwise,” Bashir said Thursday.

Since Abyei was captured by the Sudan Armed Forces in May 2011, the UNSC has repeatedly called for both nations to withdraw from the dispute region, the status of which was due to have been decided in a referendum in January 2011. The vote did not go ahead due to disagreement over who could take part.

As part of a deal in June 2011 Ethiopian peacekeepers were deployed the region under a Chapter VII UN mandate. However, other aspects of the agreement have not been fully implemented, most notably the demilitarisation of the area and the establishment of a civilian administration.

On Friday, the South Sudanese Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, Luka Biong Deng, who witnessed the withdrawal of Southern forces the day before called on the "international community to demand the withdrawal of Sudan’s forces from the area and all other armed elements they support, and if necessary, secure such compliance through the Chapter VII measures provided for in the UN Security Council resolution.”

Biong is a member of the Dinka Ngok tribe, which South Sudan maintains is Abyei’s only resident native group, and considers as the only legitimate ethnic group to participate in the postponed referendum on the future status of Abyei.

Khartoum, however, insists that the nomadic Misseriya tribe, which enters Abyei to find grazing for its cattle for much of the year, should also be given voting rights. Juba, on the other side, rejects their eligibility saying this would lead to maintain Abyei in Sudan and prevent the oil producing area from joining newly independent state.

According to Biong, the withdrawal of Southern police forces from Abyei was witnessed by General Tadesse Werede Tesfay, the Force Commander for the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA); General Acuil Tito Madut, the Inspector General of South Sudan Police; General Kuol Monyluak, the Acting Chief Administrator of the Area and himself as the chief representative on behalf of South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Community leaders also witnessed the event.

The senior official of the country’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said that the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which called for the withdrawal in roadmap for peace between the two nations on 24 April 2012, should step up calls upon the member states to persuade Khartoum to reciprocate and withdraw from the region.

In New York, Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, stated that the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) confirmed the pull out of South Sudanese police force from Abyei

The UNISFA “reports that yesterday, South Sudan’s Inspector General officially ordered the withdrawal of the South Sudan Police Service (SSPS) from the Abyei area," Nesirky said in a statement released on Friday.

"The Inspector General also ordered the police officers to refrain from visiting their families in the Abyei area in uniform and with guns," he pointed out.

The spokesperson further said that the UNISFA is in the process of verifying that all South Sudan police elements have withdrawn from the disputed area.

In April, the two nations fought a bitter border conflict over the adjacent oil-producing region Heglig, just to the east of Abyei. The area is claimed by both sides but South Sudan’s army (SPLA) occupied the area for 10 days in response to land and ground attacks from SAF.

The SPLA withdrew - voluntarily according to Juba - following widespread international condemnation, most notably UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon describing the move as "illegal". Khartoum says that it forced the SPLA to retreat.

Officials in Juba have expressed anger that their brief occupation of Heglig drew such robust rebuke, while Sudan’s occupation of Abyei and other incidents of "aggression" have not been so harshly criticised.

Biong called for the formation of an Abyei police service, as per the peace deal which the two sides signed in June 2011 in the Ethiopia capital of Addis Ababa, and said it was time for the committee to take up its duties.

"It is even more necessary that [the] Abyei Joint Oversight Committee uphold its duties and obligations to immediately form an Abyei Police Service as per the June 2011 Agreement on the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area,” he said.

He repeated South Sudan’s position that it is willing to comply with all stipulations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including withdrawing from all contested areas and establishing and activating a Border Verification Monitoring Mechanism.

Having suffered diplomatically as a result of the Heglig occupation, Biong described the world’s youngest country a responsible member of the UN and AU, adding that Juba respected calls for a ceasefire and the immediate resumption of talks on the outstanding issues between the two sides.

"The withdrawal of our police from Abyei is a note to the African Union and United Nations supporting commitment of our government that it shall adhere to the ceasefire called upon by both international organizations. The Republic of South Sudan has demonstrated that it is a law abiding and responsible member of the international community, eager to find peaceful solutions to any challenges it is facing with its neighbors," Biong said.

“It is hope[d] that the Government of Sudan will soon reciprocate with its own withdrawals, ceasefire announcement, and further demonstrations of peace,” he said, remarking that he could not see any sign of this yet.

He described decision to pull out police service from Abyei as "brave" and the right step to address the dispute and sends a clear message that South Sudan is ready and committed to peaceful dialogue over contentious issues with Sudan.

However, he noted that it was the responsibility of the international community "to protect those souls that live within the Abyei Area from attack."

"We hope this now paves the way for all SAF forces to withdraw, a prompt, voluntary, and dignified return of the Ngok Dinka people to their homelands, a final resolution of the status of Abyei.", he explained.

(ST)

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  • 12 May 2012 09:37, by Kurnyel

    That is your part of fiction South Sudan for our side, on any single soldier will leave Abyei.

    repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 10:17, by Ruach

      If they don’t want to leave,we will blow them away upto Egypt.Some parts of Egypt is ours

      repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 10:05, by Abyei Soil

    Patient pain but it pay! The truth is South Sudan is suffering in the hands of perpetrators ncp regime, what they don’t know is South Sudan gonna be the winner by all mean in near future. Right and the truth can’t get lose just like the light never hidden by the darkness. Our land Abyei Soil will never go dark anyway. South Sudan Oyeee!

    Plz, take my special request to add me on facebook, view m

    repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 10:08, by Abyei Soil

      ...my profile picture and observe carefully, get the meaning and let’s promote our regional development for peace and harmone life of our people. My facebook profile is for all including Northerners who thinks the have right over Abyei.

      Have a lovely weekend my dearest.

      repondre message

      • 12 May 2012 10:13, by Abyei Soil

        view my facebook profile on www.facebook.com/abyes.
        View my profile picture and observe carefully, get the meaning and let’s promote our regional development for peace and harmone life of our people. My facebook profile is for all including Northerners who thinks the have right over Abyei.

        Have a lovely weekend my dearest.

        repondre message

        • 12 May 2012 10:21, by Abyei Soil

          Sorry sorry sorry!!! The address above is not correct plz, take this one below here, I am sorry for misspelling!

          www.facebook.com/abyeis.

          repondre message

        • 12 May 2012 10:26, by Peacocktail

          Why urge International Community, looks at Moon who is so naive to contain the situation in Two Sudan. State bombing each other despite call for end to hostilities.

          Now is the time to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH FOR ABYEI and Panthou. SPLA must intervent NOW and flash NCP remnents out of AByie and Panthou NOW. Free South Sudan Oyee, SPLA oyee. SOuth Sudan Youth Oyeee.Struggle continued, ABYEI

          repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 10:08, by peaceful south

      I think U in EU,UN,AU,US stands for UNFAIR!!!

      repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 10:21, by peace seeker

    OK gents.Keep relying on the global intervention.....It is a good and rational policy to do that!!!

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 11:07, by Sudan virus

    SPLA captured Panthu/Heglid and pull out of international pressure demand-SAF bombarded not only area around Panthu/Heglig but southern towns.

    SPLA police pulled out of Abyei-SAF threatens UNSC.

    Don’t just ask the international support over Sudan army withdrawal from Abyei-Just use the gun to push SAF out of Abyei and Heglig and then we hear what the international community will say again.

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 15:39, by Zionist

    South Sudan’s compliance with UN resolutions will earn that country the world’s respect and support, and will embarrass Sudan if it did not. I believe that Juba has learned a lesson that will pay later in a good way.

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 20:19, by E. Defense Forces

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