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South Sudan opposition leader warns against future violation on Abyei.

June 21, 2011 (JUBA) - Tong Lual Ayat, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), an opposition party in South Sudan, on Tuesday warned against future violation of the newly signed agreement on the contested region of Abyei, if no international attention is given. Ayat said the international community needs to keep an active eye and united position in the area by ensuring deployment of "capable and trustworthy" international peace keeping troops in Abyei and in the other contested borderline areas. South Sudan will become independent on 9 July but the border with North Sudan is ill-defined and the status of Abyei remains unresolved. "It is good the two parties have reached a consensus to sign an agreement. This is a very good decision indeed. The people of Abyei needs peace like any other citizens anywhere in Sudan", said Ayat. The opposition leader said the international community should not allow the two parties to implement the new agreement at will and on their own time, stressing the parties do not trust each other anymore. "It is a high time the international community takes the issue of Abyei more seriously. They should not leave this agreement to the two parties to implement it at will and on their own time", says Ayat, describing relationships between the two parties to relationship of a divorced couple. "Relationships between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement [which governs the South] and the National Congress Party [which rules in the North] are tainted with accusations and lack of trust and understanding", he says. "They do not trust themselves anymore. Their relationships are like relationships between divorced married couples. They do not understand themselves anymore, so it is important that international community take full responsibility of Abyei", he said. The opposition leader spoke to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday in response to the on recent agreement the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and National Congress Party (NCP) signed over Abyei on Monday, June 2, 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The new agreement calls for the demilitarisation of Abyei, with the North's Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) or and South Sudan's army (SPLA) pulling their forces out of the Abyei area as defined by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2009, as well as any other military forces. An "armored" brigade of UN-mandated Ethiopian peacekeepers of about 4,260 commanded by an Ethiopian senior military officer, known as the Interim Security Force for Abyei (ISFA) will be deployed as soon as the UNSC authorises it. The ISFA will be deployed and financed by the United Nations. Its mandate will be implemented in collaboration with the authorities from both North and South as well as in consultation with Abyei Area Administration and the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC). The ISFA Commander reports to the United Nations and will periodically brief the AJOC on the Abyei situation. The Abyei region belongs in North Sudan unless a new result comes out of a pending referendum on the region's future as outlined in the Abyei Protocol of a 2005 peace between the, former rebels, the SPLM and Khartoum's NCP. In May SAF took control of Abyei by force in response to acts of agression against its forces in the area by groups in alleged were part of the SPLA. Over 100,000 were displaced by the military take over. The South says at least 100 people were killed but no accurate figures of casulties are available. Soon after the military occupation Sudan's president issued a decree, without consulting his southern counterpart revoking Abyei's civilian administration. Both the South and large parts of the international community condemned the move as an afront to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 21 years of civil war. Under Sunday's deal a new adminstration will be established with the SPLM holding slightly more seats that the NCP. The new administration will be responsible for selecting a balanced police force for the area. The accord says that Misseriya, a group of nomadic Arab cattle herders will enjoy the rights of migration with access to water and pasture along their traditional migration routes in the Abyei area. The stipulations of the Abyei Agreement will not anticipate the final status of Abyei, whose borders were recently defined by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2009. The agreement calls for the Abyei Administration to be reconstituted as it was, but with limited powers, consisting of a Chief Administrator (nominated by SPLM, agreed by NCP), a Deputy Chief Administrator (nominated by NCP, agreed by SPLM), plus five heads of department where in each selection, the nominating Party will make three nominations for each position, with the other party required to agree on one candidate. Totally, SPLM will have three of these departmental positions while the NCP get two. The Abyei Area Council (or Abyei Executive Council) will have a chairman nominated by the president of the Government of Sudan from a 3 candidates list and selected by the 20 member council, which adheres to the Abyei Protocol. Their decisions will be made by consensus with a quorum of 5 members. This Council must report weekly to the AJOC, providing an overall view of Abyei. Both governments in the North and South Sudan will finance the Abyei area authority. The responsibility for security will be transferred to a joint committee, the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. The five-member security committee, with two members each from the north and south with a joint chairmanship (each Party has a member who serves as chair jointly) with the ISFA Commander attending the AJOC as a non-voting member when security matters are discussed. The chair of the African Union will appoint a non-voting facilitator to assist the AJOC, which will have overall responsibility for security as well as oversight for political, administration matters as well as over the police force in the Abyei area. The ISFA will have the following roles: monitoring and verification; protection of monitoring teams; security within Abyei area; protection of the borders of Abyei from incursions by unauthorised elements; support and capacity building to Abyei Police Service and facilitation and protection of humanitarian assistance; protection of civilians under imminent threat. The UN, Government of Sudan and the South along with Ethiopia will draft the specific mandate of the ISFA based on the above roles. A Joint Military Observer Committee (JMOC) consisting of an equal number of observers from both Parties will be stationed in Abyei. The ISFA Commander will chair the JMOC, which interacts with the ISFA in carrying out its mission. The JMOC will submit reports to the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. The Abyei Police Service will be established. A special unit of the Abyei Police Service will be created that addresses issues resulting from nomadic migration (some police will accompany nomads on their annual migrations). The agreement allows displaced residents to return home, requiring both parties to ensure adequate humanitarian aid to those who need it. This accord prepares the way for talks on Abyei's final status to be held after the South Sudan's July 9 independence day. The AJOC reports to the Presidents of North and South Sudan monthly, and the Presidents (either) may direct the AJOC to address an issue of concern, while the AJOC may also request guidance from the two Presidents on vital matters. The AJOC can request the Abyei Executive Council or any Abyei official/committee to provide a report on matters within its mandate. The Agreement and the Abyei Protocol will be valid until the final status of Abyei has been determined. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Jun 22, 2011
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