September 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has announced that negotiation is the only possible way to resolve the dispute over Abyei area and overcome the obstacles that prevents the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed between Sudan and South Sudan.
- The late leader of the Dinka Ngok tribe, Kuol Deng Kuol (L), shakes hands with Misseriya chief Al-Amer Mokhtar Papo after signing a peace agreement in the town of Kadugli, north of Abeyi on 13 January 2011 (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty
The NCP’s press secretary, Yasser Youssef, said that both parties should agree to a negotiated solution which resolves the dispute and accommodates views of all residents in Abyei area.
He pointed in press statements following the weekly meeting of the NCP’s political secretariat on Sunday that the meeting discussed Sudan’s relations with South Sudan, affirming that relations are evolving from good to better.
He further stressed that all outstanding issues, including Abyei should be tackled only through dialogue besides commitment to the Cooperation Agreement, pointing to need for strict adherence to implement the rest of the agreements’ protocols.
"We mention that because our relations with South Sudan are strategic ones and therefore should be built on solid grounds which enable us to overcome obstacles that prevent the implementation of the security agreement", he added.
Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among others. In March of this year, the two countries signed a matrix containing implementation timelines for these accords.
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 African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) 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.
Luka Biong who was the former co-chair of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) from South Sudan, said that Abyei must be put under international trusteeship in order to avoid unilateral declaration by the Ngok Dinka of the final status of Abyei.
“This option of unilateral declaration by the Ngok Dinka of the final status of their area can only be avoided if the AU could endorse the proposal and UN to declare Abyei area as UN protectorate area until a referendum is conducted to determine its final status”, he reiterated in an article he published last Saturday.
However, the NCP rejected the idea saying that Abyei 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.
The matter is expected to top the agenda of the talks between the president of the two countries besides the oil exportation, as Juba and Khartoum confirmed the visit of Salva Kiir to the Sudanese capital soon.