UN calls for proposals to end force on Sudan-South Sudan border
The UN Security Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to extend the mandate of the nearly 3,700-strong peacekeeping force in the disputed region of Abyei, on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. South, until November 15.
He also asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres to provide recommendations for the reconfiguration and the end of the mission, although Guterres informed the council early last month that he could not come up with such options due to the differences between the two countries.
Sudan and South Sudan both claim ownership of the oil-rich Abyei region. The 2005 peace agreement that led to South Sudan’s independence from its northern neighbor in 2011 required both sides to define the region’s final status, but it remains unresolved. The United Nations force, known as FISNUA, has been in Abyei since 2011.
The resolution calls on Guterres to conduct a strategic review of UNISA by assessing recent political developments between Sudan and South Sudan and to provide detailed recommendations by September 30 on the reconfiguration of the mission “and the establishment a viable exit strategy ”.
It “should prioritize the safety and security of civilians living in Abyei, take into account the stability of the region and include an option for an exit strategy from UNISFA that is not limited by the 2011 agreements” , said the board.
When the Security Council extended the mandate of UNISFA last November, it called on the Secretary-General to hold joint consultations with Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and other important parties to discuss a exit strategy and develop options for its reduction.
Guterres said in the April letter that joint consultations could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so he held a separate meeting with senior officials from the three countries.
He said Sudan has indicated that a reduction in the staff of UNISFA could be considered immediately, “but should take place gradually over a period of one year” to allow time for the two countries to comply with a 2011 agreement on temporary administrative and security arrangements. It would also allow the two sides to consult the African Union and the IGAD regional group on successor arrangements, he said.
Guterres said South Sudan had insisted that security concerns in Abyei and neighboring West Kordofan justified the continued presence of UNISFA. “South Sudan has rejected the creation of joint institutions with Sudan, arguing that previous attempts had resulted in two wars … due to a lack of trust between the parties,” Guterres said.
He said Ethiopia believes the premature withdrawal of UNISFA would likely lead to a deterioration of the security situation in the Abyei region – a view shared by the African Union.
Guterres said that due to the differences, “no option which would be minimally acceptable to the parties could be formulated.”
The resolution adopted on Tuesday expressed concern over efforts by Sudan and South Sudan to prevent UNISFA from fulfilling its mandate, including denying police visas, blocking the appointment of a Deputy Head of Civilian Mission and denying access to Anthony Airport, which would facilitate logistics for UNISFA. challenges, reduce transport costs and enhance the safety and security of UNISFA staff. “
He said the delayed deployment of United Nations police “prevents UNISFA from fulfilling its mandate of security and protection and has the potential to create a security vacuum in Abyei”.
The Security Council urged Sudan and South Sudan to make progress in establishing temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and encouraged the African Union and the United Nations special envoy for the Horn Africa to intensify their mediating role to achieve these arrangements, which are stipulated in the 2011 Accord.