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The political disagreement over Abyei has been temporarily suspended due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
Africa World News

The political disagreement over Abyei has been temporarily suspended due to the ongoing crisis in Sudan.

“The ongoing conflict in Sudan has hindered the possibility of discussions regarding the permanent status of Abyei. Despite previous progress, Special Envoy Hanna Serwaa Tetteh stated that it was not a foundation upon which we could continue to build.”

According to her, important leaders from Sudan and South Sudan have not shown interest in discussing these matters.

The Abyei region, known for its abundant oil reserves, lies on the border of Sudan and South Sudan and is a disputed territory between the two countries. The Security Council initially approved a peacekeeping mission in this area in June 2011, shortly before South Sudan gained independence as the newest nation in the world.

Ms. Tetteh observed that the RSF, currently engaged in conflict with the SAF in Sudan, has advanced towards Abyei and has gained control over certain areas along the border with South Sudan.

However, individuals from the Abyei communities, who were knowledgeable about the negative impacts of the conflict on the possibility of renewed negotiations, stressed the importance of maintaining the Abyei matter on the agendas of the United Nations and African Union, according to her.

Abyei experienced a rise in displacements.

Additionally, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, stated that the Sudan crisis worsens the difficulties in Abyei, which includes an increase in civilians seeking refuge from the conflict.

He informed ambassadors that the UN Mission in the area has observed a rise in the movement of weapons in Abyei, potentially worsened by the situation in Sudan.

The dispute has caused financial difficulties for the residents of Abyei due to disruptions in the supply of essential goods and products, which were primarily sourced from the north.

UNISFA has provided aid to approximately 220,000 individuals in the central and southern regions of Abyei, including those who have been displaced due to intercommunal conflicts and those who have fled the violence in Sudan.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, briefs members the Security Council.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, provides a report to the members of the Security Council.

Mission’s new reality

According to Mr. Lacroix, UNISFA has had to modify its deployment routes and supply arrangements to align with the current situation.

In the last six months, there were three attacks on UNISFA staff resulting in injuries. The investigations for these attacks are still ongoing.

According to Mr. Lacroix, the ongoing conflict has posed difficulties for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), which is backed by UNIFSA and works towards maintaining peace in the demilitarized area between Sudan and South Sudan.

“Despite limitations on aerial surveillance caused by airspace restrictions, JBVMM staff are still stationed and conducting ground monitoring in the border region.”

Continuing challenge

Around 200 members of the South Sudan People’s Defence Force and South Sudan National Police Service are currently situated in southern Abyei, along with an approximate 60 Sudanese police officers guarding oil facilities in northern Abyei. This remains a persistent obstacle for UNISFA, as stated by Mr. Lacroix.

He stated that the existence of these individuals goes against the objectives of the Mission and goes against the demilitarized and weapons-free rules in Abyei. As a result, this has limited the movement of UNISFA and he urged the authorities to remove their personnel.

The source for this information is the United Nations website.