The Security Council today called on the parties to the dispute over the oil-rich Sudanese town of Abyei to abide by the decision to be rendered next week on the matter, one of several outstanding issues related to the 2005 peace pact that ended the country’s north-south civil war.
Abyei has been contested by the two signatories to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – and was the scene of deadly clashes last year that forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee.
Both sides have expressed their commitment to accept and peacefully implement the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, located in The Hague, which is due to deliver its decision on 22 July.
“Members of the Council welcome the commitment of the parties to respect the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on Abyei and call upon them to implement that decision and to communicate that commitment to their respect communities,” the 15-member body said.
In a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda, which holds the rotating presidency this month, the Council also commended the efforts by the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in the protection of civilians and urged it to “continue making preparations accordingly, particularly in the Abyei area.”
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy told reporters that UNMIS has reinforced its presence in Abyei to protect civilians in case of any incidents.
“We all expect that the implementation of this outcome should be as peaceful as possible,” he added.
The Council also voiced its concern at the delay in implementation of some aspects of the CPA, “especially in regard to the preparations for the elections and the escalation of inter-communal violence.”
In his recent report on UNMIS, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that next year’s planned national elections are vital for the process of democratic transformation throughout the country, and stressed the importance of peaceful, transparent and credible polls.
He added that escalating inter-tribal violence in Southern Sudan is jeopardizing the stability of the entire country, and key milestones in implementing the CPA.