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UN envoy hails Sudanese efforts to settle Abyei row

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September 11, 2008 (JUBA) — UN special envoy to Sudan hailed progress made by the Sudanese partners in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and Abyei Protocol particularly.

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Sudan FVP, Salva Kiir mayadrit receives UN envoy to Sudan Ashraf Qazi in his office, Juba Sept 11, 2008 (Photo by Mc Kulka, UN)

Three years after the signing of the CPA, Sudan peace partners agreed last June on a roadmap to settle dispute over the finding of the Abyei Boundaries Commission. The parties agreed to refer the ABC conclusions to the International Tribunal of Arbitration, formed an administration, agreed to withdraw troops from the disputed area, adopted a plan to manage the return of IDPs.

"Significant progress has been made in implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Abyei roadmap," said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ashraf Qazi today following a meeting with the First Vice President of the Republic and President of southern Sudan government, Salva Kiir.

Qazi welcomed the recent move to appoint a joint interim administration in Abyei. He said it was important to note that significant progress has made despite “the numerous challenges” facing the two sides.

He also congratulated President Kiir on progress made with the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme. He announced that a major DDR conference is expected to be held in Southern Sudan in October.

However, he noted the need to speed the deployment of the joint units from the two armies and polices of northern and southern Sudan. The implementation of the security arrangement agreed in the roadmap should be followed by the return of civilians displaced from the district after last May fighting.

Qazi called on donor countries to ensure funding for Abyei to facilitate the return of IDPs.

Last May, Sudan Armed Forces and SPLM forces clashed in deadly fighting in Abyei, where 18 civilians were killed according to Human Rights Watch.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 60,000 people fled the town during the fighting, and at least 50,000 are still living in temporary shacks or crowded into homes with other families south of Abyei.

(ST)

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