Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed an agreement to resolve a dispute over the town of Abyei, which lies in an oil-rich area close to the boundary between northern and southern Sudan, and has recently been the scene of violent clashes that have displaced as many as 50,000 people.
On Sunday the National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement agreed on a road map to resolve the Abyei dispute, including through arbitration.
“The Secretary-General congratulates the two parties and urges them to implement this agreement in full to ensure a final resolution of this most serious challenge to Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.
The CPA, signed by the Government and former rebels in January 2005, ended the long-running north-south civil war, but an impasse since then over the boundaries and status of Abyei has been one of the stumbling blocks to fully implementing the peace accord, as the area is contested by both sides.
The Secretary-General said today that he “particularly welcomes the commitment of the two parties to allow the UN Mission in Sudan unrestricted access and freedom of movement in the Abyei area,” and he gave his assurances that the UN would continue to provide assistance to the tens of thousands of people who have been displaced.
The UN “also stands ready to assist their return to Abyei, once security arrangements are put in place to enable a safe and dignified return,” he said.
The town of Abyei was largely destroyed after fighting broke out last month.