Posted by: africanpressorganization | 22 June 2011

Sudan / Norway welcomes agreement on Abyei





Sudan / Norway welcomes agreement on Abyei



OSLO, Norway, June 22, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Yesterday, representatives of the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement concluded a security agreement for the important region of Abyei. “I am pleased that a security agreement has been reached on Abyei. It is now essential that the agreement is implemented. I hope that the UN Security Council will endorse the agreement as soon as possible,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.


The main feature of the agreement is that all northern and southern armed forces are to be withdrawn from Abyei. An Ethiopian peacekeeping force will be given responsibility for security in the region, which will continue to have a special status and a separate administration. The future affiliation of Abyei to either the north or the south will be determined a later point in time, on the basis of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The negotiations were facilitated by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel chaired by former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.


“The agreement on Abyei is important because it resolves the immediate crisis, which has forced thousands of families to flee the area. I greatly appreciate the fact that Ethiopia has responded positively to the parties’ request by making troops and equipment available,” said the Foreign Minister.


“Although yesterday’s development was a step forward, I would like to repeat that Norway remains concerned about the situation in Sudan, particularly in the state of Southern Kordofan. I urge the parties to agree on a local ceasefire in the state. It is vital that political leaders on both sides now act responsibly and demonstrate a will to find political solutions to the fundamental problems,” said Mr Støre.


Norway is concerned by reports of abuse based on ethnic origin, killings of civilians, looting and the arming of local militias. It is also deeply worrying that UN peacekeeping forces in the area have been attacked and threatened. Those responsible must be held responsible.


Over the past weeks, there has been fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces belonging to the government in the north and forces affiliated with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. The UN estimates that around 75 000 people have been forced to flee, and has warned of a developing humanitarian disaster. The fighting between the parties is making it difficult for the UN and international NGOs in the area to reach those in need of emergency relief.


Only three weeks remain until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between northern and southern Sudan expires and South Sudan declares itself an independent state.


Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim will represent Norway at the celebration of the new state of South Sudan on 9 July.


“I most emphatically urge the parties in Sudan to conclude negotiations on the framework agreement on relations between the two states. Norway supports the aim that the negotiations should lay the foundation for two sustainable states,” said Mr Solheim.


Negotiations on relations between the two states are now ongoing in Addis Ababa and are being led by the African Union. Some of the important negotiation themes are security, cooperation in the petroleum sector, citizenship, currency, debt and the institutional framework for relations between the two states. Norwegian experts are assisting both parties in the negotiations, and Norwegian diplomats have attended the negotiations as observers.



Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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