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South Sudan’s Bona Malwal maintains Abyei part of Sudan

December 8, 2017 (JUBA)- A prominent Dinka politician and the rapporteur of the national dialogue maintained his remarks in which he said the contested border region of Abyei remains part of neighbouring Sudan until when its status has been resolved.

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The Misseriya staged a protest against an African Union-backed proposal that excluded them from participating in a referendum on the future of Abyei outside the UN and AU headquarters in Khartoum on 28 November 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

“Yes, I made the remarks but here is why. Abyei is in the north. Read the 1956 map of Sudan before South Sudan seceded in 2011 and tell me where it is. It was transferred on the request of the people of the area in 1905 and if they want to return to the South, this has to be settled by the mechanisms that have been proposed. The CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) is one them but did the parties implement it, don’t ask me, ask them because they sign it? But these are the facts, legal and constitutional facts which the inexperienced, irresponsible boys don’t see”.

The veteran politician stressed that the status of the area will be settled if the parties return to the process and mechanisms they have agreed to use as a way to settle the dispute.

In line with the CPA, the residents of the disputed area have to determine the fate of Abyei through a referendum to be carried by the end of the transitional period.

However, the two parties failed to agree on the eligibility of Sudanese nomads of the Misseriya tribe as the Dinka Ngok refuse their participation in the crucial referendum.

Also, in accordance with the Abyei protocol which is part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that led to South Sudan separation in 2011, Abyei remains part of Sudan until the referendum has taken place.

The remarks have attracted protests from the people of Abyei and members of the general public in the South Sudan but no government official has come out to support or condemn him.

Monyluak Kuol, chair of the Abyei Lawyers’ Network for Final Status, said in a statement on Friday Malual’s remarks were biased and baseless and accused of him of selfishness.

“For us, we feel that his statement is selfish. Maybe the statement carries some personal interests or friendships and personal relationships with some Sudanese politicians,” said Kuol

“It does not help South Sudan in any way. I think these statements are biased and baseless, and will not affect any efforts to resolve the Abyei issue,” he added.

In October 2013, the Dinka Ngok voted in a unilateral referendum to join South Sudan. But their vote was not recognized by Juba and Khartoum.