October 8, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese government denied statements attributed to the Russian special envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov saying that President Omer Al-Bashir accepts to divide the disputed area of Abyei between the Sudan and South Sudan.
- An unidentified woman stands in the central market of Abyei, Sudan, Thursday Jan. 13, 2011,
In statements on Saturday to the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, about his visit to Sudan, Putin’s special envoy, quoted the Sudanese president as saying that he agrees to split Abyei between Dinka Ngok and Misseriya.
Sudan and south Sudan failed to agree on how to organise a referendum to determine Abyei future. But the two parties say committed to implement the vote they agreed to conduct in 2005, despite their disagreement on who from the Misseriya pastoralists can participate.
Last September, Khartoum rejected a proposal made by the African mediation to organise the referendum in October 2013 saying it backs the South Sudanese position which says only the Misseriya residing in Abyei can vote.
Undersecretary of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, Rahmat-Allah Mohamed Osman, dismissed Novosti’s report about Abyei’s division stressing that there will be a new round of talks between the two countries on the issue.
He further said that Sudan expects that the African chief mediator Thabo Mbeki will bring new proposals over the issue, adding that any statement about the repartition of the contested area are pure speculations.
Al-Khair Al-Fahim, co-chair of Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), also denied the news reported by the Russian agency saying it is premature to speak about the partition now.
"I do not think that the President (Bashir) approached the issue from the angle of division or non-division because the proposal of the African Union mediator speaks about the referendum, he said. "And the Sudanese side refuses to hold any referendum breaching the Sudanese laws," he added, alluding to the status of Abyei.
Sudan in November 2010 accepted a proposal worked by the African Union mediation together with the then U.S. special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, calling to divide the region between the south and South Sudan in case that Juba refuses to accept the participation of Misseriya who reside the area for 185 days.
The mediation is expected to brief the African Union Peace and Security council and the UN Security Council about its position over the issue during the upcoming days. Mbeki also has discuss the issue with the Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents before.