August 29, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan criticized calls by a former South Sudan’s official to place the disputed region of Abyei under international trusteeship and reiterated its rejection of a unilateral referendum.
- Members of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee in a meeting (AU photo)
The NCP’s Political Mobilization Secretary in Abyei constituency Shol Mowen was quoted by Sudan official news agency (SUNA) as saying that the area does not need international trusteeship but rather the establishment of an executive body, legislative assembly and a police force to enhance security and stability there.
SUNA said that Mowen was responding to statements made by Luka Biong who was the former co-chair of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC).
Mowen went on to say that the proposal made last year by the chairman of African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki to hold the referendum in Abyei next October is premature.
He urged the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) to press Khartoum and Juba over creating local institutions in Abyei during its next meeting scheduled for September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Abyei was supposed to hold a vote in January 2011 on whether its residents want to join north or south Sudan. The plebiscite was delayed over disagreements on who is eligible to vote between the pro-south Dinka Ngok tribes and the pro-north Misseriya tribe.
Mbeki issued a proposal last year which was approved by the AUPSC to hold the referendum this October but excluding the majority of the Misseriya who spend few months in Abyei for grazing.
Khartoum swiftly rejected the plan and despite earlier blessings, the AU appears to have put its implementation on hold. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has yet to give a formal opinion on it.
Sudan warned Juba against unilaterally holding a referendum in Abyei as it has suggested and vowed not to recognize its results.
South Sudan president Salva Kiir has issued a directive to the government that would grant Abyei residents time off from work to vote next October.