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UN extends mandate of Interim Security Force for Abyei

Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei on 14 August 2016 (UNISFA photo)
May 16, 2018 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted the resolution extending the mandate of its Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until 15 October 2018, saying the current situation is a serious threat to international peace.

Made up of Ethiopian troops, UNISFA was established in June 2011 at the request of the Sudan and South Sudan governments.

The resolution reiterated the demand for Sudan and South Sudan to urgently establish an Abyei Area Administration and Council, as well as a police service that could take over policing functions throughout the area, including the protection of oil infrastructure.

It underlined the critical need for the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to cooperate over Abyei and expressed renewed concern over delays and stalled efforts to fully operationalize a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, which UNISFA would support.

The resolution also called for renewed efforts to determine the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone centre line on the ground, emphasizing that this line would in no way prejudice the legal status of the border, the ongoing negotiations on the disputed and claimed areas, or the demarcation of the borders.

It urged the two Governments to take immediate steps to implement confidence-building measures among the Abyei Area communities and strongly urges all the Abyei communities to exercise maximum restraint and to desist from inflammatory acts or statements that might lead to violent clashes.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia, the sole troop-contributing country to UNISFA, welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution but urged both Sudan and South Sudan to live up to their commitments.

(ST)