November 30, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Friday said the African Union should be fully involved in the conduct of a referendum to determine the final status of the disputed oil-producing region of Abyei.
- Members of Abyei civil society hold placards saying that Abyei belongs Ngok Dink chiefdoms in a protest outside the United Nations offices in Khartoum on September 23, 2010 (photo Getty)
The African Union Peace and Security Council decided on 24 October to give a six-week delay to Khartoum and Juba to strike a deal on Abyei on the basis of a proposal made by an African panel mediating between the two countries.
The Council also decided to hold the referendum in October 2013 and to refer its decision seeking the support of UN Security Council if the two parties fail to reach a deal during the 6-week period.
Khartoum already rejected the proposal which provides to hold a referendum without the participation of the Misseriya nomads and said not concerned by the position of the AUPSC accusing "foreign circles" of instigating this decision.
Luka Biong Deng, Co-Chair of the Abyei Oversight Committee for South Sudan (AOCSS) said it is important to involve the AU, if Sudan rejects proposals made by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the status on Abyei.
“It will be a great test to the leadership and ability of the regional body to independently and confidently handle it affairs without external intervention, if Sudan rejects the proposal on the status of Abyei when it is endorsed by the Security Council of the United Nations”, Deng told Sudan Tribune.
South Sudan, he said, has made “painful decisions” and “rational steps” towards the full implementation of the 2005 peace accord, further accusing its ex-foes, Sudan of “wasting” resources, instead of accepting the previous proposals aimed at determining the future of the contested region.
"All the people of South Sudan and especially it leadership want is to bring peace and sustainable dialogue and cooperation to establish mutual relations between the two viable states, living side by side to boost economies and development of their countries”, Deng reiterated.
The seriousness of the government of South Sudan to completely break deadlocks with its northern neighbour, is manifested in the way our leadership has decisions and steps towards issues being discussed, he added.
The AOCSS co-chair also accused some sections in Khartoum, of allegedly interfering with the planned summit between Sudanese President, Omer Al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir.
Francis Deng, South Sudan’s Permanent representative to the UN, on Wednesday, reiterated his government’s commitment to peaceful settlement of the all its disputes with Sudan, but warned that complete stability will not be achieved, without a solution to the conflict in the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Sudan staged a diplomatic campaign to explain it rejection of the AUPSC decision. Sudan imposing an external decision with not resolve the conflict. President Bashir also announced that Abyei is located north to 1956 border and that only the Sudanese parliament can modify Abyei referendum law.
Presidential Assistant Nafie Ali Nafie met with South African President Jacob Zuma and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Also Vice President Al-Haj Adam Yassein also visited Nigeria and Côte d’Ivore where he met with the president of the two countries.
Foreign minister Ali Karti has juste returned from an African tour including Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Lesotho to explain Khartoum’s position over the conflict.
Meanwhile, Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s chief negotiator is in Khartoum today, to discuss the issue related to the agreements reached between the two countries, while the joint security committee will reportedly meet in the Sudanese capital from 5-6 December.
Sudan and South Sudan failed to implement the protocols of the Cooperation Agreement signed on 27 September as the two countries diverge over the disarmament of Sudan people’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) fighters.
Khartoum says SPLM-N disarmament is part of the security deal but Juba rejects says such demand saying there are no longer linked with their former comrades in Sudan.
The implementation of the security arrangements is supposed to take place before the other protocols including oil exportation.