Juba, South Sudan,
June 28,2021 — The ad hoc committee formed by South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit to initiate dialogue with the Sudanese government on the final status of the Abyei Administrative Area has asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to help improve security in the restive region by expanding UN forces on the ground.
The call was made during the committee’s meeting with a visiting UNSC delegation in Juba on Thursday to assess efforts by the two countries in resolving the dispute over Abyei.
In a statement seen by Nyamilepedia, the committee spokesperson Deng Biong told media that they suggested that the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) be increased to allow wide access across the region to improve security.
“We said that if the size of the forces is maintained or increased it will be good for deterrence because deterrence is also a way of defending the civil population in the area. If the enemy or if the other side plans a criminal and sees there is a formidable force on the ground then they may not think of attacking,” he said.
Biong added that the committee beseeched the UN to engage the Sudanese government to commit to efforts aimed at resolving the Abyei issue.
“To improve the work of UNISFA is to talk to Sudan to agree on the operationalization of Athony airstrip which is in the area. It is a big airport but it is not operationalized simply because Sudan is not willing. But this will ease the operations of UNISFA and will also help in giving services to the population in the area and the surrounding areas of Aweil and Bahr el Ghazal,” he emphasized.
He further stressed that the committee also invited the UNSC to persuade Sudan to withdraw its forces from oil fields in the Difra area.
Graham Maitland, the head of the UN Review and Strategic Team said: “The mission here is to listen to the South Sudanese perspective in terms of what the security council had asked the Secretary-General and the secretariat to do which is dealing with the strategic review of UNSFA in the context of very good and positive improvements and dynamics in the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan that we have all seen in the last few years.”
The President Kiir constituted a high-level committee composed of ten members headed by Tut Gatluak Manime, the Presidential Advisor for security affairs and deputized by Deng Alor Kuol, the Minister of East African Affairs to initiate dialogue with the Sudanese government on the final status of the Abyei Administrative Area.
Abyei has been a contested Area between Sudan and South Sudan for very long period of time.