UN calls on Sudan, South Sudan to empower UNISFA Abyei

UN calls on Sudan, South Sudan to empower UNISFA Abyei

The United Nations has called on Sudan and South Sudan to remove restrictions and allow the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to operate freely in the disputed region.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Ambassador James Kariuki urged the governments ‘‘of Sudan and South Sudan to remove the operational obstacles that limit UNISFA’s ability to implement its mandate in full.’’

Mr Kariuki added that the UN ‘‘remains concerned at the continued restriction of UNISFA’s freedom of movement, including on vital border monitoring activities.’’

He noted: ‘‘We call on both countries to remove restrictions on the freedom of movement of UNISFA, and urge the Government of South Sudan to allow the re-operationalisation of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism Headquarters in Gok Machar.’’

He said the UN was impressed by the efforts to rotate the troops in Abyei and was vouching for the Ethiopian troops to be accorded the green light to secure the contested region.

‘‘We, therefore, urge both countries to organise a further meeting of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee and echo the Secretary-General’s encouragement for the African Union to intensify its mediation efforts to help facilitate such efforts,’’ the diplomat added.

‘‘It is our hope that attention can now return to the full implementation of UNISFA’s mandated tasks and improve the lives of citizens in Abyei, who continue to suffer.’’

He condemned the attack on UNISFA peacekeepers, urging that the ‘‘safety and security of UN peacekeepers is vital and we echo the Secretary-General’s call for the relevant authorities to investigate and hold those responsible to account.’’

In addition, the UN diplomat condemned the clashes in Agok that led to the deaths and displacements of citizens in the past few days. Abyei has experienced a myriad of attacks lately, with citizens being the targets of the Misseriya attackers. Last month, President Salva Kiir appointed the Vice President of Service Cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi to chair a commission on peacebuilding between the two warring communities in Abyei and Twic County, Warrap State.