March 27, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – Sudan was among 11 countries at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that voted against a resolution declaring a referendum held this month in Crimea on the region splitting from Ukraine as invalid.
- A digital display shows the results of a vote on a draft resolution upholding the territorial integrity of Ukraine at the United Nations headquarters on 27 March 2014 (Photo: AP/Seth Wenig)
Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Belarus and Bolivia also voted against the non-binding vote. There were also 58 abstentions in the 193-nation UN body.
Following the vote, Moscow formally annexed Ukraine’s southern region after the results showed an overwhleming majority in favor of joining Russia.
The move drew strong condemnation specially from the US and European countries some of which moved to impose unilateral sanctions.
A Washington Post factbox states that about 2 million people live in Crimea of which around 60% see themselves as ethnic Russians and speak Russian.
The referendum in Crimea is somewhat similar to the one held in October 2013 in the disputed region of Abyei that lies between Sudan and South Sudan.
The outcome of the three day unilateral vote organized by Ngok Dinka pro-south tribe showed a near unanimous desire in favor of Abyei joining South Sudan.
Initially Juba appeared supportive of the referendum by giving Abyei residents time off to vote, but later distanced itself from it. There was also no international support for it from the start and was swiftly rejected by Khartoum.
Abyei was scheduled to hold a referendum with that of South Sudan in January 2011 but was suspended because of disagreements between the two countries over who was eligible to participate in the vote.
In a bid to resolve the impasse, the African Union mediation team proposed in 2012 holding a referendum in Abyei in October 2013, stipulating that only the Ngok Dinka permanently residing in the area would be allowed to take part in the plebiscite.
However, Sudan swiftly rejected the proposal, saying it ignored the eligibility of the nomadic Arab Misseriya tribesmen and argued that local government institutions must be established first before any vote can take place.
Just as Moscow insists that Crimea has historically been part of Russia, Khartoum has the same conviction on Abyei.