October 30, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti said they foiled attempts by Abyei’s sons to refer the issue of the disputed area directly to the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) and called for a negotiated solution to settle the issue.
- People displaced from Abyei in Agok, south Sudan (file photo/Reuters)
Ali Karti, was speaking about bargaining that took place in Addis Ababa during a ministerial meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) held on 24 October to discuss to discuss Sudan South Sudan cooperation agreement of 27 September and remaining unresolved issue including Abyei and border disputed areas.
The foreign minister who represented Sudan at the meeting is the first official to comment on the outcome of the AUPSC reunion which decided to give the two parties additional six weeks to agree on a negotiated solution on the final status of Abyei and to back the proposal made by the African mediation if they fail to strike a deal.
In a press conference held at the headquarters of foreign ministry in Khartoum, Karti praised the cooperation deal and reiterated Sudan commitment to implement it, but he denounced moves by Abyei’s sons, supported by the "American Administration" as he said, aiming to refer Abyei issue to the Security Council.
Karti further said that Khartoum after tense dealings with the AUPSC members successfully stopped attempts spearheaded by the United States and some western countries, mobilised by Abyei’s sons according to the minister, seeking the direct referral of Abyei issue to the UNSC.
He further said that Sudan managed to transform the proposal to be the basis for negotiations and to give additional six weeks to the mediator to seek a consensual solution over it.
The Sudanese official added that they also convinced the Council on the need to take into account the local opinion, to establish Abyei administration and to avoid imposing solutions.
Following its meeting of 24 October, the AUPSC asked the two parties to negotiate within a six week period "with the facilitation of the AUHIP, on the basis of the AUHIP’s Proposal on the Final Status of Abyei Area of 21 September 2012, seeking to reach consensus on the Final Status of the Abyei Area."
If they fail to reach a final deal " Council will endorse the 21 September 2012 Proposal as final and binding, and would seek the endorsement by the UN Security Council of the same;" added the communiqué issued by the African Union at the end of the meeting.
Karti reiterated Sudan’s rejection of the proposal the mediation made in September which calls to hold a referendum in October 2013 without the nomads of Misseriya tribe.
Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki said in his proposition that only the Misseriya residing in the area can take part in the referendum besides the Ngok Dinka who are the dominant majority.
Edward Lino, former co-chair of Abyei Steering committee, told London based Asharq Alawsat that they have already engaged the preparations to declare Abyei as the 11th state of South Sudan stressing that the referendum will certainly be in favor of joining the new nation.
He also said the expected visit of President Omer Al-Bashir to Juba mainly aims to divert attention from Al-Yarmouk bombing and to break Sudan’s isolation in the international community through south Sudan.
Karti told reporters that the meeting of the joint security committee will be held in Juba on Monday 5 November. The meeting was supposed to take place immediately after the signing of 27 September agreement but was delayed several times.
He pointed out that this meeting will be a blow to those who seek to abort the cooperation agreement, adding that the shelling of Kadugli by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) is "a desperate attempt to confuse the deals signed by the two countries".
Khartoum recently announced that Al-Bashir will visit Juba soon and some reports said that the visit might coincide with meetings of the joint security committee.