December 7, 2012 (JUBA) – A senior member of the South Sudan government said on Thursday it is engaging with the Russian government to seek support for the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposal for the final status of the disputed Abyei region.
“We have come to Moscow to engage the Russian government on the recent agreement with the government of Sudan, especially the AUHIP proposal on Abyei and security arrangements,” Luka Biong Deng; a senior member of South Sudan’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
The Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee is a member of a high-level delegation led by South Sudan’s lead negotiator in post independence discussions, Pagan Amum, visiting Russia for diplomatic engagements.
Khartoum, rejects a decision of African Union Peace and Security Council (AUSPC) over an Abyei referendum and accused the United Sates of pressing the African states to adopt it, and to refer it to the UN Security Council.
Moscow has shown willingness to support the Sudanese position over Abyei with Russian envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov visited recently Khartoum several times to discuss the issue with the Sudanese officials.
Khartoum also said it convinced the Council member states to not impose a decision that would provoke a return of war between the two sides.
The AUPSC is expected to meet on 14 December to discuss the Abyei issue and to decide whether or not it would refer the proposal to the UN Security Council (UNSC).
“We have come with comrade Pagan [Amum] to meet with senior government officials here. We are now in Moscow and we would like the Russian government to play a positive role in current discussions. The Russians need to support the proposal of the African Union on Abyei and also security arrangements,” Deng said from Moscow.
Russia, a UNSC permanent member, said it favoured allowing the two parties more times to reach a negotiated solution stressing that imposing a decision would not be productive.
South Sudanese foreign minister said earlier this week that supporting the African proposal would avoid allowing "endless talks" with Khartoum.
Speaking to Russia Today TV - Arabic Service, Pagan Amum said the Sudanese government has rejected the various solutions and reports made over Abyei since the singing of the 2005 peace agreement.
The African Union Peace and Security Council’s (AUPSC) six-week deadline, given to Sudan and South Sudan to come to an agreement on the Thabo Mbeki proposal, has expired as of yesterday.
Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Karti, told Khartoum’s parliament that African leaders do not see the reason why the issue of Abyei should be transferred to the UNSC, adding they accepted to privilege the position of his government calling to not impose a decision on the parties that might stir up war between the two sides.
Sudan in the past has supported a previous proposal the African mediation had made in November 2010 providing to divide the disputed region between the two sides they fail to strike a deal on the participation of the nomads of the Misseriya tribe.