November 15, 2016 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council has called on Sudan and South Sudan to immediately resume negotiations on the final status of the disputed area of Abyei, saying it constitutes a serious threat to international order.
- An officer from the UN peacekeeping mission in Abyei (UNISFA) on patrol in the disputed region, which is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan (AFP)
The call came after the 15-member council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping force in Abyei, underscoring that peacekeepers are charged with taking necessary action to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.
In its resolution, extending the peacekeepers’ mandate in Abyei, the Council further stressed that the future status of Abyei shall be resolved peacefully, through negotiations and not through the unilateral actions of either party.
The Council, in the resolution, expressed renewed concern over delays and stalled efforts to fully operationalize a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism in the area, which its peacekeepers would support.
Ownership of Abyei, the disputed oil-producing region, remained contentious even after the world’s youngest nation split from Sudan in 2011.
On 27 June, 2011, the Security Council, by its resolution 1990, responded to the urgent situation in Abyei by establishing the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
The Security Council was deeply concerned by the violence, escalating tensions and population displacement.
The peacekeepers are tasked with monitoring the flashpoint border between Sudan and South Sudan and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, and are authorized to use force in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers in Abyei.
UNISFA’s establishment came after Sudan’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarize Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.