Oct 23, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The UN held a security briefing on the United Nations Interim Security Force of Abyei (UNISFA) on Thursday 22n October 2020.
At the meeting, the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Richard Mills and the U.K Deputy Political Coordinator at the UN addressed the challenges faced by UNISFA while delivering their service.
Through their representatives, both the UK and Us noted that the security of Abyei is still fragile as the mission continues to face many obstacles.
One key issue noted by the US is that of Sudan and South Sudan governments denying Visas to UN police.
“The United States calls for Sudan and South Sudan to lift restrictions that negatively impact UNISFA’s ability to carry out its mandate. Denying visas for UN police and a civilian deputy for the mission, blocking access to Anthony airfield for UNISFA, and refusing to provide national police to join Abyei’s Joint Police Service is just counterproductive. We very much regret the limited progress on these issues and we expect additional steps to be undertaken by the parties in the coming weeks.” Said Ambassador Richard Mills.
According to the secretary general, out of 640 mandated UN police officers, only 35 have visas.
These restrictions together are undermining stability in Abyei and they’re endangering both civilians and peacekeepers.
The UK Deputy political coordinator also stressed on the need for Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to facilitate the issuing of all outstanding visa requests, especially those for police personnel as well as facilitate the operationalization of Airstrips.
Both countries commended UNISFA for the great work it is doing in Abyei.
UNISFA was created as an interim force. Almost 10 years later, this Council, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the UN, and the African Union should all re-evaluate how Abyei’s status can be resolved and how security can be provided.
UNISFA’s indefinite continuation, especially while Sudan and South Sudan place restrictions on its operations and its staffing, is – in my delegation’s view – untenable.