The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force for Abyei which is tasked with overseeing the demilitarization of an area that is contested by Sudan and South Sudan.
In a unanimous vote, the 15-member Council extended the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) until the end of next May. The mission was set up by the Council in June 2011 following an outbreak of violence after Sudanese troops took control of the area, displacing tens of thousands of people in the weeks before South Sudan became an independent State after seceding from Sudan.
The mission’s mandate includes overseeing the demilitarization of the area and maintaining security.
In today’s text, the Council urged Sudan and South Sudan to immediately resume the work of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee “to ensure steady progress” on the implementation of the June 2011 Agreement, which provides for temporary administrative arrangements for Abyei and the withdrawal of troops by both sides.
The Council also urged the two Governments to take all necessary steps to ensure that Abyei is effectively demilitarized, and to implement confidence-building measures among the respective communities in the area, including through reconciliation processes.
Council members strongly urged all Abyei communities to exercise maximum restraint in all their engagements and to desist from inflammatory acts or statements that may lead to violent clashes, or any further unilateral activities.
The final status of Abyei is one of the outstanding issues of the so-called Comprehensive Peace Agreement which helped to end the long-running civil war between Sudan and South Sudan.