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Sudan: UN envoy presses both sides in Abyei dispute to implement accords

5 May 2011 – The governments of Sudan and Southern Sudan have committed to implementing the two recent agreements aimed at restoring calm to the disputed region of Abyei, where clashes have claimed the lives of dozens of people in recent months, a senior United Nations official said today.

“The two parties have committed that the Kadugli and Abyei Agreements shall be carried out with the facilitation and participation of the UN,” said Haile Menkerios, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

“UNMIS will also support the containment and temporary security measures while a solution is being sought. We have agreed here to immediately move on it,” Mr. Menkerios said after meeting the President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, in Juba.

The meeting followed deadly clashes at the start of the week in Abyei that claimed the lives of at least 14 people.

Mr. Menkerios was accompanied today by the United States Special Envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, and former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan.

Before travelling to Juba, Mr. Menkerios met in Khartoum with senior officials of the Government of Sudan, who also expressed their readiness to implement the agreements.

Under the Kadugli and Abyei Agreements, signed in January and March respectively, both sides committed to the total withdrawal of all unauthorized forces from the Abyei Area, leaving the maintenance of security to the joint integrated units (JIUs) and joint integrated police units, which are made up of personnel from both sides.

Tensions have been high in Abyei for months as the area remains in dispute between the north and the south, which will formally separate from the rest of Sudan in July.

A referendum on the future status of Abyei was supposed to have been held in January but never took place amid disputes over voter eligibility.

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