February 15, 2014 (JUBA) – Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday condemned an attack allegedly carried out by South Sudan army (SPLA) and its Police forces in Northern Abyei, calling for their “immediate” withdrawal from the disputed area.
- Soldiers from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) redeploy to form a new Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) battalion with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) under the terms of an agreement on Abyei (Photo: UN/Tim McKulka)
The February 3 incident, the Council said in a statement, undermined aspects of its 20 June, 2011 Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for Abyei area, including the redeployment of all Sudanese and South Sudanese forces out of it.
The Council, in turn, also demanded that Sudan immediately pulls out its Police force from Diffra to avoid any possible outbreak of violence between the ex-war foes.
Khartoum and Juba claim ownership over Abyei, a disputed area whose original occupants were to vote in a self-determination referendum in 2011, but disagreements over who was eligible to participate delayed the process.
In October last year, however, a self-determination vote organised by the Dinka Ngok tribe saw 98% of its citizens vote in favour of joining South Sudan in a widely unrecognised referendum.
The two parties, they said, must resolve the dispute over the Abyei Area Council and immediately establish the Abyei Area Administration and Abyei Police Service.
In its Resolution 2046, the UNSC had urged Sudan and South Sudan to unconditionally resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and with the support of the chairman of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) reach agreement on critical issues, including final status of the Abyei Area as well as ensure the resumption of the work of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC).
The two countries, they further urged, should renew their commitment to the establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and full operationalization of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM).
South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart Omer Al-Bashir signed a Cooperation Agreement on 27 September 2012, particularly on oil and security matters, but are yet to fully implement provisions of the deal reached in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.