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Sudan calls to resume meetings of Abyei committee

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)
March 8, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Head of the Sudanese side of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) Ahmed Al-Salih Saloha has called on the South Sudanese side to show commitment to resume the meetings of the committee.

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

There is no joint administration between Sudan and South Sudan, as the Ngok Dinka refuse the formation of Abyei Area Administration and the Legislative Council. 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.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Friday quoted Saloha as saying the meetings of the committee must be resumed in order to serve the interests of the residents.

He disclosed that the Sudanese side has asked the Foreign Ministry to communicate with the African Union to resume the meetings.

Saloha complained about the withdrawal of the South Sudanese side from the previous meetings of the committee, saying Juba continued to refrain from participating in the meetings without giving reasons.

“We are ready for any meeting and we urge the other party to do so,” he said

On 27 June 2011, the Security Council, by its resolution 1990, responded to the urgent situation in Abyei by establishing the 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 27to 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)