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Sudan says not ready to attend AJOC meeting

November 21, 2012 (JUBA) - The Government of Sudan on Wednesday expressed unwillingness to attend the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) meeting, which was due to take place on 22 November.

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Luka Biong August 4, 2011 (Credit: Jonathan Hutson, Enough Project)

Luka Biong Deng, South Sudan’s co-chair on AJOC, said the meeting was for both parties to take major decisions to fully implement the resolution of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) as per its 24 October communiqué.

The meeting, he added, would particularly focus on the implementation of the Temporary Arrangement for Administration and Security of Abyei area.

“It is regrettable that we were informed yesterday by the African Union that the Government of Sudan component of AJOC has asked for the postponement of the meeting as they are still finalizing the list of their nominations for the positions of Deputy Chief Administrator and the Speaker of Abyei area,” AJOC said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

The Government of South Sudan, the statement adds, is not only ready with its nominations for the position of Chief Administrator and three heads of departments as per the letter of its lead negotiator dated 24 July 2011, but it has also acted on the list of nominations of the Government of Sudan, as per its 24 June letter.

Khartoum, according to the Government of South Sudan, failed to notify the latter of its change in earlier nominations.

“It is regrettable that there is no new date suggested by the Government of Sudan for the next meeting of AJOC and it is clear that new process of finalizing the nomination will take more time,” further reads the statement, signed by Deng.

South Sudan, however, expressed commitment and readiness to finalize its list of nominations for the immediate establishment of an area administration in the disputed oil-producing region, but urged Sudan to also complete its nomination list and share with them.

South Sudan was refusing to form Abyei administrative bodies agreed in a deal signed on 20 June 2011 because Juba demanded Khartoum appoint a Ngok Dinka to the position of Speaker of the Abyei Legislative Assembly but the Sudanese refused the request.

However, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir agreed two weeks ago to form the Abyei institutions after a decision by the African Union Peace and Security Council to hold a referendum on the future status of Abyei in October 2013, if the two countries fail to strike a deal within six weeks.

The referendum, which Khartoum rejects, is to be organised without the participation of Misseriya nomads, as per the AU resolution last month.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last week renewed the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), for an additional six months until May 2013.

The Council, during its sitting, also welcomed the redeployment of Sudanese military and South Sudanese military and police personnel from the Abyei area in compliance with resolution 2046, and demands that the Government of Sudan redeploy the oil police in Diffra from the Abyei area immediately and without preconditions.

Members of the UNSC, also reiterated, that the Abyei area shall be demilitarized from any forces other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service, in accordance with its resolutions 1990 and 2046.

The UNSC, in its resolution, also demanded that two Sudan’s urgently finalize the establishment of the Abyei area Administration and Council, including by resolving the deadlock over the Chairmanship of the Council, and constitute the Abyei Police Service.

(ST).