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Misseriya accuse African mediation of conspiracy over Abyei

December 2, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Al-Khair Al-Fahim, co-chair of Abyei steering committee attacked the African mediation for proposing to hold a referendum in Abyei without the participation of Misseriya nomads and described its move as conspiracy against his people.

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Al-Khair Al-Fahim, co-chair of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (SMC website)

Al-Fahil who is a Misseriya leader made his remarks following a meeting with the European Union special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Rosalind Marsden, to explain the position of his tribe from the proposal that Thabo Mbeki had made on 21 September, before its rejection by the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir two days later.

Nonetheless, on 24 October, the African Union Peace and Security Council considered the proposal and decided to endorse it if the two parties fail to strike a deal within 6 seeks. At the time, Sudan alluded that foreign countries instigated the decision. The Misseriya accused France, United Kingdom and United States of being behind the move.

Al-Fahim stated on Sunday that the proposal came at an inopportune time and was drafted in hurry. He further ruled out to settle the issue of land ownership within six weeks as it is provided in the text, saying "this is a racist decision. The African conspired against us".

The co-chair of the steering committee said the African proposal is inconsistent with the sovereignty of Sudan because it overcomes Abyei protocol, the Sudanese constitution and the law on the organization of the referendum in Abyei.

The Sudanese official pointed out that the proposal provides to form a referendum commission chaired by a foreigner appointed by the African Union, stressing that this disposition violates Abyei referendum law.

Last month, president Omer Al-Bashir already underlined that only the National Assembly can modify the referendum law emphasizing that Sudanese law prevails over decisions taken by regional or international institutions.

He also underlined that Abyei is located inside the current Sudanese territory as the CPA parties agreed that the boundaries of 1956 define the border between the two countries.

The African mediation retracted from a previous proposal it had made over the disputed area, supported by Khartoum, suggesting to divide Abyei between the two countries.

The panel said its recent proposal is in harmony with the decision of the Arbitration tribunal over Abyei boundary and Abyei protocol in the 2005 peace agreement .

The mediation also said it proposed a five-year development programme for the Misseriya areas in South Kordofan to reduce pastoralists’ reliance on Abyei grazing lands.

(ST)