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Kiir says Abyei referendum would bring lasting peace with Sudan

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October 3, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir said "time is running out" for peace efforts to materialise over Abyei, a contested oil border region, arguing that conducting referendum in the area would bring lasting peace between the two Sudans.

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir delivers a speech in the capital Juba, June 10, 2013 (Reuters)

The president made the remarks Tuesday at a meeting with South Sudan’s high national committee for the Abyei referendum, also attended by Deng Alor in his capacity as head of the committee.

It was the first time for Alor to meet with president Kiir since he was suspended over a financial scandal, leading to his dismissal from cabinet position in June.

Kiir affirmed commitment of his administration to negotiating with Sudan in good faith, but said the latter’s position on the issue of Abyei was "disappointing and obstinate".

"There is nothing we have never tried to resolve the conflict except violent. We have followed all through negotiations and courts and again negotiations but still like we are beginning the process. Time is running out and the windows of peace are narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The last summit in Khartoum did not reach any conclusion”, Kiir told the meeting.

Kiir assured the government of neighbouring Sudan that the conduct of the referendum to determine the status of Abyei would not deny the Misseriya tribe access to water and pasture in the area, calling on authorities in Khartoum to encourage the nomads to work with his administration to "sow the seeds of good neighbourliness" between the two communities.

“Conducting [the] referendum will remove tension and bring lasting peace in the area”, a senior official who attended the meeting quoted president as saying.

The South Sudan leader urged Sudan to order the Misseriya to stop settling in areas defined by the International Court of Arbitration as belonging to the Nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms.

He said building settlements on occupied land in areas north of Abyei town with intention to "change the facts on the ground” undermines peaceful efforts to resolve conflict over the area.

“The settlement of the nomads is one of the key issues that must be encouraged and should be stopped immediately", Kiir reportedly said.

"The international community is asked to condemn and stop any actions on the ground that would undermine peaceful measure. It must be stopped".

Alor confirmed participating in the meeting with the president, saying the Abyei community leadership wanted to hear from the president and inform him about the ongoing activities in the area, what needs to be done and how it could be handled.

“It was a briefing meeting on the part of the president and also for the community leadership to inform him on the ongoing activities. People are now returning to the area but they need to be informed what the government is doing and what they are expected to do as citizens. Everyone has got a role to play. The citizen must return while the government engages the international community on possibilities to conduct the referendum on time”, Alor told Sudan Tribune.

He did not comment on whether his community would conduct a “unilateral vote” should the international community fail to pressure Sudan into accepting the conduct of referendum this month as suggested by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for the Sudans.

The AU has already warned both nations against undertaking unilateral actions, instead encouraging implementation of earlier commitments made, urging them to "urgently" resume discussions on its proposal to resolve the final status of the disputed oil-producing region.

Abyei had originally been scheduled to hold the vote in 2011 as a part of 2005 peace deal but it was delayed as the two sides could not agree on who should be allowed to take part.

(ST)

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  • 4 October 2013 07:02, by william

    Mr. President be informed that Abyei area had already been occupied by nomadic messeria, just prepare for their expulsion by force. NCP regime can listen only to language of war faster than dialect of peace. So avoid talking and get prepared for all out war with NCP.

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  • 4 October 2013 07:05, by william

    There is nothing we have never tried to resolve the conflict except violent. We have followed all through negotiations and courts and again negotiations but still like we are beginning the process. Time is running out and the windows of peace are narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing. The last summit in Khartoum did not reach any conclusion”, I like those words.

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    • 4 October 2013 07:35, by Panda Odhie

      my worry here is a date for conducting election in Abyei ,I heard people talking of October but date is not mention, which date u know October is not far we are in October please Kiir don’t make us feel frustrated when u postpone the time for election because u like changing your mind before Bashir do

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    • 4 October 2013 07:54, by Paul Chadrack

      also mr president should prepare for 2015s election on time, that’s where peace will prevail in south sudan. wani iga should tell his greedy friends from bhar el gazel that nothing will keep them longer in power except through free and fair elections in the year 2015.avoiding it will be Catastrophic.

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    • 4 October 2013 08:00, by Paul Chadrack

      mr president should also prepare for 2015s elections on time, and wani iga must advice his greedy friends from bhar el gazels by telling them that avoiding elections will be Catastrophic. they should keep in their minds that Dodging the elections will not keep them in power any longer.

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      • 4 October 2013 08:19, by Panda Odhie

        My friend let us focus on Abyei ,why do you worry about 2015 election, we need Abyei case to be finally accomplished then we will face for 2015 ,this time is for Abyei referendum period!!!!

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      • 4 October 2013 08:27, by Chol A.

        @Paul Chadrack can you ask yourself who is greedy between who in power appointed official by people and who isnow lobby down like your uncle Dr.Hopeless Riak? please the article does not talking about Bhar el Ghazel or 2015 election! just wait and see what will happen in 2015 Kiir will win it and take up your arm as usual otherwise stay hopeless as now.

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        • 4 October 2013 09:44, by Ming Dhal

          @ Paul!
          Please be matured in mind, take the issue of census and constitutional review then give them time there after you really tell when shall be election date? Even primary pupil would judge very well. Unless you people want to drive the whole nation into your narrow thinking. Be mature i repeat. There is no country in this world that can carry out election without knowing the number of voters.

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          • 4 October 2013 17:26, by Naath

            Hopeless Ming dhal,do you understand what you talking for,which world are you talking about,lets me tell you about 12 country conducted election without sensus or number votes you mention,sensus are not important but understands the people’s values is very important then making useless approach to deaths,I want kiir to wind peaceful election then riging it,

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