Don’t replace Ethiopian forces in Abyei area, UN told

Don’t replace Ethiopian forces in Abyei area, UN told
Members of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (photo credit: courtesy)

The government of the Abyei Administrative Area has urged the United Nations to not change the Ethiopian forces in the region.

“What we [do not] want to see is instant focus on changing the Ethiopian Forces; let them stay and focus on finding the settlement of the final status of the Abyei area,” Chief Administrator Kuol Deim Kuol said during the Fifth Governors Forum at Freedom Hall Saturday.

The National Committee of South Sudan has been formed, as has the committee for Sudan to decide the final status of the Abyei area.

“Anyone from Sudan who will take over power, either Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok or the military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, [must] help the committee from Sudan to immediately meet the committee from South Sudan and reach a final settlement in the Abeyi area.” After that, all UNISFA in the area can move away and leave the place for South Sudan, ” Kuol explained.

Kuol said that South Sudan’s position is that the Ethiopian forces have not committed any crime for them to be sent away.

“First of all, the forces are committed to the [directives] given to them by the UN Security Council, and the forces are respectful; they don’t have any dispute with the community,” he said.

He said that it would not be well for new forces to be taken in because that would force another year for them to learn the area.

He appealed to the international community to consider the voices of South Sudanese on the issues before making any decision.

“Wait for the situation in Sudan to cool down. Leave the Ethiopians there and later on when you want to replace them, you also consider our options. We, the government of South Sudan, also have our own option,” he urged.

On September 8, 2021, the Sudan government requested the removal of the Ethiopian troops from Abyei.

Sudanese officials and the head of UN peacekeeping operations discussed the situation in Abyei and the solution to the disputed area within the rapprochement between Sudan and South Sudan.

The UN Security Council in May 2021, extended the UNIFSA mandate until October 15.

Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 9, 2005, which led to the independence of South Sudan six years later, Abyei remained a Sudanese territory until a referendum on the future of the border area.