September 3, 2013 (WAU) – Following the failure of presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir to seal a deal during his one day to Khartoum some dignitaries from the disputed area called for a decision by the African Union to support the organisation of a referendum that eventually to be backed by the UN Security Council.
- Hundreds of southern Sudanese take part in a demonstration against northern Sudan’s military incursion into the border town of Abyei in Juba Monday May 23, 2011 (File AP)
Chairperson of the National Public Grievances Chamber, Justice Deng Biong, and a member of the national legislative assembly representing the Abyei area Arop Madut, both rejected the Sudanese demand to forge a joint administration before the referendum saying the International Arbitration Tribunal decided that Abyei belongs to the Dinka Nogk and accordingly, they have the right to administrate it alone.
During his one-day trip to Khartoum, the disputed area of Abyei was seen as the only dark spot on the visit which confirmed at least that the two parties have decided to work in a good faith to improve their bilateral relations and implement the nine cooperation agreement signed one year ago.
President Omer Al-Bashir, in his speech, reiterated his demand for a "final and satisfactory solution for all the parties". He also suggested to establish the local institutions agreed in June 2011 before to conduct the referendum or and to work for a lasting settlement to avoid that Abyei "be a dagger" in the relations between the two countries.
While president Kiir in his speech underlined the need to implement the proposition of the African Union mediation which calls to conduct the referendum without the Sudanese nomads. He also referred to the decision of the Arbitration court in favour of the Dinka Ngok.
South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the summit had addressed a number of key issues, while affirming the commitment of the two countries to honour agreements and "remove obstacles" to peacefully settling post-secession disputes.
Marial pointed out that the two, though, leaders had agreed on the need to conduct a referendum on the future of Abyei. Adding "There was no problem about that, but president Bashir preferred to establish a joint administration first. This was where they could not continue the discussion on Abyei".
"President Salva had to stop and the summit ended. This was all the two leaders had discussed about Abyei”, further said the minister.
ABYEI PEOPLE CALL FOR AFRICAN DECISION
Justice Deng Biong, a senior government official and a native of Abyei, rejected the Sudanese demand for a joint temporary administration as provided in the deal of June 2011.
"Yes, the two presidents did not reach any agreement on Abyei because Bashir insisted on the establishment of [a] joint administration before formation of the referendum commission, which does not have any basis", Deng told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
He emphasised that the joint administration was necessitated by "the 8 June 2008 roadmap but this has been corrected by the 22 July 2009 ruling of the Hague which defined the areas of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdom, so there is no need for [a] joint administration".
Deng called on the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) to take complete responsibility for endorsing the proposal put forward by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and refer to the UN Security Council (UNSC) for approval, saying the two presidents will never agree on the terms of the referendum.
He was alluding to the Misseriya demand to participate in the vote on the future of Abyei and the Dinka Ngok rejection to see them involved in this exercise.
Arop Madut, a member of the national legislative assembly representing the Abyei area in Juba, said Sudan’s claims to the area have already been addressed by the PCA, with the ruling was previously accepted by the two parties as final and binding.
"The rightful owners are known and the decision was accepted as final and binding by all the two sides, so [a] referendum should be allowed to be conducted for the Dinka Ngok and other residents as proposed by the African Union High-Level Implemental Panel", he told Sudan Tribune.
The fate of Abyei referendum at the crossroad