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Sudan’s PM supports UN efforts in Abyei, says Lacroix

Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei on 14 August 2016 (UNISFA photo)
April 29, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok pledged to support the appointment of Deputy Head of Mission for UNISFA in the disputed area of Abyei, said Jean Pierre Lacroix the head of UN peacekeeping department on Tuesday.

On 14 May 2019, a month after the ouster of the former President Omer al-Bashir the United Nations Security Council decided to appoint a civilian deputy head for UNISFA to work with Sudan and South Sudan to establish the Abyei Police Service.

Also, the resolution 2469 (2019) decided to increase the authorized police ceiling to 640 police personnel, including 148 individual police officers and three formed police units.

The Sudanese ambassador, at the time, voiced his opposition to the resolution underlining that Abyei is part of the Sudanese territory and thus Sudan has to accept the changes produced by this resolution in UNISFA mandate and composition including the police force.

Lacroix on Tuesday requested the Security Council to extend the UNISFA mandate for six months after reporting about the recent attacks in the disputed area and the need to end the intercommunal violence between the Ngok Dina and the Misseriya.

"The enhancement of the UN support to the AU through the appointment of a Deputy Head of Mission for UNISFA becomes more important while the Special Envoy works with the AU to seek ways to revitalize the political process," Lacroix told the videoconference meeting.

"In this regard, in a positive development, on 4 March, UNISFA held consultations with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan to resolve the issues of the Athony airstrip and the appointment of a Deputy Head of Mission. The Prime Minister has expressed willingness to support the Mission in these areas," he added.

In September 2018, Lacroix proposed to deploy three formed police units to enhance the UNISFA’s focus on maintaining law and order as a result f the increase in criminal activity and tribal violence in the area.

But the Sudanese ambassador rejected the proposal and called to implement the agreement of 20 June 2011 which provides to form temporary local institutions to administrate the disputed area including a local executive and legislative bodies and a local police force.

The Ngok Dinka of Abyei area refuse the formation of Abyei Area Administration and its police force. Instead, they call to hold a referendum without the participation of the Sudanese pastoralist Misseriya.

The Sudanese government and the SPLM in a peace deal signed in 2005 that led to the independence of South Sudan in 2011 agreed that the fate of the Abyei area would be determined through a popular vote.

U.S. urges support to UNISFA

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet Acting Deputy Permanent Representative at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, in a speech delivered during the meeting, called to remove obstacles hindering UNISFA’s mandate

"Today, we call on the parties to remove obstacles preventing UNISFA from realizing its mandate. Moving forward, the United States encourages senior UN officials to redouble their efforts with the parties and with the African Union to allow UNISFA’s mandate to be fully implemented," said Chalet.

Also, she urged UN officials to push for progress in establishing joint security and administrative arrangements.

(ST)