UN gives Khartoum and Juba ultimatum on Abyei dispute

Wednesday May 17 2017

An aerial view of Banton Bridge in the contentious Abyei region. FILE PHOTO | AFP

An aerial view of Banton Bridge in the contentious Abyei region. FILE PHOTO | AFP 

By JOSEPH ODUHA

The UN Security Council has given South Sudan and Sudan a six-month ultimatum to resolve the status of the disputed Abyei area.

The council issued a statement in New York Tuesday advising the two neighbours to show political commitment in implementing the joint border security pact under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in Kenya’s capital Nairobi in 2005.

The 15-member Security Council said the issue of Abyei had taken too long to be resolved and the two countries had from time to time lacked the requisite political will and commitment.

The UNSC further urged Juba and Khartoum to institute some interim measures they previously agreed on to jointly administer Abyei.

According to the statement, US deputy ambassador to the UN, Mr Michele Sison, notified the council that five years of obstacles to deploy the joint border monitoring was enough to end the Abyei problem.

He called upon both Khartoum and Juba to uphold their commitments in the July 2011 Comprehensive Agreement, which includes resuming border demarcation discussions.

Both Khartoum and Juba were claiming the legitimacy to control Abyei.

Under the 2005 CPA, the Abyei inhabitants were to decide in a referendum whether to be part of South Sudan or the Sudan.

In 2012, the nine Ng'ok Dinka chiefdoms in the area organised a referendum in which they voted overwhelmingly to be part of an independent South Sudan.

However, the results of that referendum were not officially recognised by the governments of the two countries.