October 8, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — A spokesperson for Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Monday indicated that Sudan would prefer for a political agreement to be reached with South Sudan over the disputed area of Abyei, stressing that a referendum might bring war between the two sides.
- People displaced by fighting in Abyei wait for assistance and aid supplies in the village of Agok May 18, 2008. (Reuters/file)
Al-Obeid Ahmed Marawah, told reporters in Khartoum on Monday that many proposals were discussed during negotiations brokered by the African Union held recently in Addis Ababa.
He added that Juba supported the organisation of a referendum while Khartoum called for a political solution over the disputed region. The two parties disagree over who among the Misseriya pastoralists can take part in the vote over the fate of Abyei.
"How what the results were, the referendum would end by attributing Abyei to one of the two countries. And this will not satisfy the other party," he said. "Therefore, this could cause a new conflict between the two people of Abyei and it might extend to be between the two countries."
"This is why we do not prefer the referendum option. But the political solution will satisfy all the people of Abyei from both sides and lays the foundations for a permanent peace between them. And (The Abyei areas ) would be a bridge between the two countries," he added.
The African Union chief mediator Thabo Mbeki, at the end of the talks, sent a proposal, without informing the two negotiating teams of its content, to presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir suggesting to hold a referendum in October 2013.
Sudan rejected Mbeki’s proposal saying it was not in line with the protocol the two parties agreed in 2005 saying the proposition does not provide for ’permanent’ abode or residence as a condition for voting in the referendum.
Sudanese officials denied, during the weekend, statements attributed to the Sudanese president saying he supports the partition of Abyei between the two countries.
The two sides are expected to resume talks on Abyei issue and other disputed areas on the border between the two countries.
Mbeki is also expected to report to the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council over the agreements the two countries reached on 27 September and the remaining issues.