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Sudan, South Sudan Abyei oversight committees to meet this month

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Ethiopian Peacekeepers patrols in Abyei Southern sector to enure that Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities are sharing grazing land and water peacefully on 22 April 2017(Photo UNISFA)
May 22, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese committee for the administration of Abyei area Tuesday said it has received an invitation from the African Union to meet with its South Sudanese counterpart on 30 May in Abyei.

Ownership of Abyei, a disputed border region contested by Sudan and South Sudan, remained contentious after the world’s youngest nation split from Sudan in July 2011.

There is no joint administration between Sudan and South Sudan, as the Ngok Dinka refuse the formation of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC). Instead, they call to hold a referendum without the Sudanese pastoralist Misseriya.

Now, there are two committees one for the Misseriya appointed by the Sudanese government and another for the Ngok Dinka appointed by Juba government.

Head of the committee, Hassan Ali Nimir said the upcoming two-day meeting would be held with the participation of native administrators from Misseriya and Dinka Ngok communities.

He pointed out that his committee informed the AU of its readiness to participate in the meeting at the specific date and time.

Nimir further said his committee has embarked on making arrangements and preparations to take part in the meeting.

He pointed they are mainly interested to discuss the implementation of the 20 June 2011 agreement for the security and administrative arrangement in the region.

On 30 May 2017, after more than two years of suspension, the two Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) parties held an extraordinary session convened by the African Union. The latter urged them to commit to a functioning Joint Oversight Committee as a forum in which contentious issues could be addressed.

Also, the two parties signed an outcome document, in which they agreed that they would resume bimonthly meetings.

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).

UNISFA’s establishment came after Sudan’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarise Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provides that the contested territory remains part of the north until the organisation of a referendum determines its fate.

The difference over who will participate in the referendum prevents the two countries from holding the agreed referendum.

However, the Dinka Ngok organised a unilateral referendum from 27 to 29 October 2013 to say they want to join the Republic of South Sudan.

Khartoum, Juba, the African Union and the international community refused to recognise the outcome of the vote.

(ST)

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