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Sudan Tribune

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SPLM vows not to compromise in talks over contested oil region – Abyei

October 11, 2010 (JUBA) – The office of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the oil contested town of Abyei on Monday said the region has no intention to compromise even any inch of the areas demarcated by the permanent court of Arbitration even if it means resorting to war.

Members of Abyei civil society hold pro-southern independence placards during a protest outside the United Nations offices in Khartoum on September 23, 2010 (Getty)
Members of Abyei civil society hold pro-southern independence placards during a protest outside the United Nations offices in Khartoum on September 23, 2010 (Getty)
Miyen Alor Kuol, a member of the SPLM in Abyei town told Sudan Tribune that the area will not accept any proposal demanding renegotiation of the Abyei protocol.

In a parallel referendum to south Sudan’s self-determination vote, Abyei is due to decide whether it wants to become part of the south or remain with the north.

The SPLM began talks with Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) are underway in Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia.

“We will not at all, accept anything less than implementation of the protocol itself. We will not accept any proposal demanding renegotiation of the Abyei protocol even if it mean[s] resorting to war. I repeat, we will not and will never compromise even any inch, in current discussions, because the protocol itself is clear and tells who comes where and lives where,” said Kuol sounded annoyed at how discussions.

“Like I talked to them yesterday, they again told me this morning that they are still consulting among themselves. They have not resumed discussions that means talks are not progressing. They are working out differences because members of the delegation from the National Congress Party representing Messeriya are initiating complete[ly] new discussions over Abyei,” said Kuol, adding.

He said that he does not understand why the NCP is insisting on definition of who is eligible to vote in the Abyei referendum.

“I still do not understand why the NCP insists on definition of eligibility and citizenship of those who will have to vote in Abyei referendum because these rights and eligibility have already been defined and explained in the protocol.”

Members of the Messeriya tribe recently told Sudan Tribune that they wanted to be able to vote in the Abyei referendum and accused the SPLM of denying them their rights. Kuol does not believe the Messeriya should be able to vote and says the rights were already agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the SPLM and NCP.

“All rights including that of Messeriya to seasonally move freely in the region with cattle and access grazing and water areas have been defined. Their rights according to the CPA are limited to water and grazing rights. I do not see any other right of the Messeriya which has not been granted.”

“Not only in the the protocol, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has also identified boundaries which identifies and locates who has what right and who comes from where,” said Kuol, accusing the NCP of violating peace agreement.

Kuol said that the NCP was using the Messeriya to try to affect Abyei’s by attempting to change the original agreement that only the Dinka Ngok would be able to vote in the regions referendum.

This referendum, he said, according to the CPA, is meant only for the nine Dinka Ngok chiefdoms transferred to the Kordofan region in 1905 by the British under colonial rule. “When the nine Dinka Ngok were transferred, they were not transferred with Messeriya. They were transferred alone and so [this] is why the referendum is being organized for them. It does not include Messeriya,” he said.

Acuil Akol Miyen, Abyei’s secretary of finance and administration told Sudan Tribune that the talks in Ethiopia were moving in a “snail style”.

“The talks are slowly moving. Our delegations remain at the vicinity of the [negotiating] table ready and opened for an honest discussions,” said Miyen describing situation in the area as “relatively calm,”.

In the mean time “people are leading their normal lives. Commercial routes connecting the area are open,” he said.

(ST)