Security Council: progress lagging on post-secession accord between Sudan, South Sudan

The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is helping to keep the peace.
IRIN/Hannah McNeish
The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is helping to keep the peace.

Security Council: progress lagging on post-secession accord between Sudan, South Sudan

The United Nations Security Council today regretted the lack of progress in implementing a two-year-old agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on security, the common border and economic relations, and called on both Governments to renew their commitment to the aims of the accord, particularly regarding the status of the long-contested Abyei area.

Speaking to reporters following closed-door consultations, Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month, said members of the 15-nation body had also expressed concern about the lack of results in the recent round of political negotiations between the Government of Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), on reaching an accord to end nearly three years of conflict in strife-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Ms. Lucas’ comments came after the Council had been briefed by Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and UN Special Envoy on Sudan and South Sudan Haile Menkerios.

She said that during the discussion, Council members expressed particular concern regarding the situation in Abyei and the continued presence in the resource rich area of security forces from both sides. “They reiterated their call for immediate redeployment of those forces from Abyei,” she said.

In addition, the Council also urged the two nations to renew their commitment to the establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and full operationalization of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM).

She said Mr. Menkerios briefed the Council on implementation of its resolution 2046 (2012), by which it had condemned repeated incidents of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan, including seizure of territory, and demanded that the two countries immediately cease all hostilities, withdraw forces, activate previously-agreed security mechanisms, and resume negotiations, under threat of sanctions.

He updated the Council on the status of negotiations between Khartoum and the SPLM-N, and on the humanitarian situations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Ms. Lucas told reporters that the talks between the parties resumed on 13 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

The session ended on 2 March, however, without any agreement on proposals presented by the Panel. “Fighting continues in the two States and the humanitarian situation remains of great concern,” she said.

As for the situation in Abyei and the work of the UN Interim Security Force for there (UNISFA), she said the Mr. Ladsous had informed the Council that there has been no progress on interim arrangements nor on the final status of the area, which is one of the outstanding issues of the so-called Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005, which helped to end the long-running civil war between Sudan and South Sudan. “As a result, UNISFA continues to operate in a vacuum of law and order,” she said.

Mr. Ladsous also reported on the continued presence of Sudanese and South Sudanese security personnel in Abyei, which constitutes a violation of the June 2011 agreements and Security Council resolutions. Ms Lucas said the UN peacekeeping chief had also noted that there have been no developments regarding the establishment the demilitarized border zone, and said that all joint border verification and monitoring mechanism operations remain suspended.