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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan reiterates its rejection to hold Abyei’s referendum in October

August 21, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government reiterated its rejection to hold a referendum on the future of Abyei area, stressing that priority should be given to establish local institutions and provide service to the civilians there.

The co-chair of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) for the Sudanese side, Al-Khair Al-Faheem, discussed with the South Sudanese ambassador to Khartoum, Mayan Dut Waal, ways to break the current deadlock in Abyei in a meeting they held on Wednesday.

According to the semi official news service, SMC, Waal spoke about the need to achieve positive changes in Abyei to improve the life of people there, adding that Juba is preparing to hold the referendum next October in line with a proposal advanced by the African Union last year.

The African proposal, which matches with the South Sudanese position, provides to hold the referendum without the participation of the Misseriya nomads.

“Any arrangements undertaken by the South Sudan to hold a referendum (in Abyei) are illegal, and no party can organise the referendum independently without the other, considering that the vote is one of the tools of the final solution to the issue”, Al-Faheem said.

The Sudanese official went to say that those who work to hold such exercise will realise that the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area of 20 June 2011 prevent unilateral organisation of the referendum.

He added that what is needed now is to form the institutions of local administration and to establish the police and other legal services to help the international force deployed there (UNISFA) to lay the foundations of security and stability in the disputed area.

President Salva Kiir is expected to visit Khartoum to discuss with his Sudanese counterpart Omer Al-Bashir the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement, but also unresolved issues like Abyei referendum.

Eight years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which paved the way to the independence of South Sudan, the two parties failed to organise a crucial vote because they disagree over who can take part in this referendum.

However, on 20 June 2011 Khartoum and Juba agreed to form temporary local institutions as president Omer Al-Bashir dissolved the former administration accusing it of instigating hatred against the Sudanese army. The later seized the area after attack against its troops there in May of that year.