Republic of South Sudan Office of the President Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) Juba, South Sudan
Unilateral Decision by Sudan to send its own transitional administration to Abyei Area
23rd August 2012
The Minister of the Presidency of the Republic of Sudan issued on 6th June 2011, after the invasion of Abyei by the Sudan Armed Forces in May 2011, a Ministerial Decree to form Transitional Abyei Area Executive Committee. On 16th August 2012, the Chairman of this Committee wrote to the UNISFA Force Commander informing him that his committee will arrive Abyei town by the end of this month and requested him to provide them with temporary accommodation and security. Most of the members of this Committee are suspected to have participated in the devastation of the area and the gross atrocities committed in the area. In fact the UN is paradoxically being requested by the Sudan to provide accommodation and security instead of apprehending the very people who looted, burnt down Abyei and committed gross human rights abuses in Abyei area.
This decision of activating this Committee is not only contrary to the 20th June 2011 Agreement but it is based on alleged accusation that the Government of South Sudan has formed a new Abyei Area Administration. This accusation that the Republic of South Sudan has formed Abyei Area Administration is baseless and unfounded. In my capacity as Co-chair of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, I ordered on 26th June 2012 all Abyei civil servants to return to Abyei town after the withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) to assist in the provision of basic services to the returnees. These civil servants were appointed and approved by the Presidency and national Ministry of Finance in Khartoum and were displaced to Agok, south of Kiir river, after the invasion of Abyei town in May 2011. These civil servants consist of teachers, engineers, nurses, administrators, health workers and other workers whose salaries were paid by the Government of Sudan before the invasion of Abyei in May 2011. The decision of asking such civil servants to return to their former workplace in Abyei town cannot be understood as establishing a new Abyei Area Administration. I raised this issue of civil servants during the last meeting of AJOC.
Instead of having a better understanding of such decision of asking civil servants to resume their work in their former workplace in Abyei town, the United Nations wrongly reported that the AJOC South Sudan has taken unilateral decision. I just talked with my GoS Co-chair and I told him that we did not form any new administration because that is the prerogative of the two Presidents and we have only asked the old civil servants under the Government of Sudan to resume their work in Abyei town so as to assist in the provision of basic services. I asked him if there are some civil servants of Abyei area who fled to the north of Abyei area after the invasion of
Abyei in May 2011 will be welcomed to return to Abyei town to resume their work and to assist in the provision of basic services to the returnees.
I would like to reiterate the commitment of the Republic of South Sudan to the full implementation of Abyei 20th June 2011 Agreement. During the 6th Meeting of AJOC, the Government of Sudan insisted to maintain their oil forces in Abyei area contrary to the AU Roadmap and the UN Resolution 2046. Also Sudan decided not to sign the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) a key provision of the June 2011 Agreement. In order to assist the return of Ngok Dinka to their home areas with their own resources, Sudan refused to transfer 2% of oil revenue as the rightful share of the Ngok Dinka as provided for in the Abyei Protocol. In order to expedite the establishment of Abyei area administration, the GoS refused to sign a joint letter that we agreed to write to the two Presidents and that resulted in the delay in the formation of administration. Also to expedite and assist the return of IDPs through effective coordination of humanitarian assistance, AJOC agreed to form Inter-Governmental Taskforce with terms of reference agreed upon by the joint humanitarian team but GoS decided not to sign this document and insisted instead to include provisions that would ensure the sole sovereignty of Sudan over Abyei area. With these clear violations of the Sudan to the provisions of the June 2011 Agreement, the AU Roadmap and the UN Security Council Resolution 2046, the international community should focus on how to make Sudan to fully implement the 20th June Agreement.
If Sudan Government insists to send this Executive Committee to Abyei Area and the UNISFA provides them with accommodation and security, the AJOC South will not be part of this unilateral and illegal move and its security consequences. We asked UNISFA to keep itself away from such unilateral move. We remained committed to the full implementation of Abyei 20th June 2011 Agreement and full adherence to the AU Roadmap and the UN Security Council Resolution 2046. I will keep engaging my Sudan Co-Chair in order to contain such illegal move and to maintain our progress that we have achieved so far in maintaining peace and stability in Abyei area.
Luka Biong Deng Co-Chair, Abyei Joint Oversight Committee Juba, South Sudan.