The Security Council today voted to extend the United Nations mission set up to support a 2005 accord that ended the long-running civil war between north and south Sudan, and called on the parties to fully their commitments to achieve lasting peace.
In a resolution passed unanimously, the Council stressed the importance of “full and expeditious” implementation of all elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) – as it extended the UN mission in the country (UNMIS) until 30 April 2009.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a recent report, stated that the parties deserve credit for striving to overcome their tensions and problems through dialogue, but tangible progress has not been made in key areas, jeopardizing the agreement's implementation.
He noted in particular that recent clashes and tensions in the Abyei area, an oil-rich region which remains disputed by the two sides, are a potential threat to the agreement.
The Council today urged the parties to “address and find a mutually agreeable solution to the Abyei issue,” and urged them to redeploy their forces away from the disputed 1 January 1956 border and fully establish an interim administration in Abyei in accordance with the CPA.
In addition, the 15-member body “calls for all parties to immediately accept full unrestricted UNMIS monitoring and verification in the Abyei region, without prejudice to the final agreement on the actual borders between the two sides.” It also urged the Mission to consult with the parties and to deploy personnel to the Abyei region.
Resolution of that issue is just one of many which the report says must be overcome if the CPA is to be fully implemented, Mr. Ban noted in his report. The others include border demarcation; the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants; the formation of joint integrated units involving the two sides; and appropriate preparations for the current national census and next year's scheduled elections.
“Those issues are interlinked. Progress must be made in parallel; delay or confrontation in one area will affect implementation in the other areas,” he warned.
To this end, the Council urged the Government of National Unity to carry out an inclusive, national census and to prepare for the holding of free and fair elections. It also urged UNMIS to prepare to support the national elections, and the international community to provide technical and material assistance for electoral preparations.