Sudanese leaders and a UN representative meet to address the problem of Abyei.
Sudanese authorities and the visiting Head of UN Peacekeeping operations discussed the situation in Abyei and how to move forward toward resolving the disputed area within the framework of the two Sudans’ reconciliation.
Jean Pierre Lacroix met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and Head of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Tuesday to discuss the replacement of Ethiopian troops with other forces, as well as the role of UNISFA in the border area.
Lacroix must provide a report on UNISFA to the Security Council by September 30, 2021. This report should include an assessment of the improved relations between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as recommendations for reorganizing the Force and developing a credible exit strategy from Abyei.
Lacroix told reporters after his meeting with al-Burhan that the conversation was “very productive” and reiterated the UN’s commitment to assisting Sudan’s transition.
“We also discussed the situation in Abyei and how the UN could continue to help the people of Abyei, South Sudan, and Sudan in their efforts to find a political solution for Abyei,” he added.
He said that the discussion focused on how UNISFA can continue to operate and how UNISFA responsibilities may be adjusted to reflect current conditions.
Prior to arriving in Khartoum, the UN senior official was in Addis Abeba, where he negotiated the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops with Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen.
Sudan requested earlier this year the replacement of Ethiopian troops from Abyei by a multinational force due to the Ethiopian claim to the al-Fashaga border area and the delay in GERD negotiations.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi said Lacroix was in favor of forming a Sudanese-South Sudanese high-level committee to deal with the situation in Abyei.
Al-Mahdi added the 20 June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area.
In addition, al-Burhan told Lacroix that Sudan desires UN support for the transition and implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement.
In a second statement, the prime minister’s cabinet said that Hamdok and Lacroix examined the procedures put in place to replace Ethiopian troops working with UNICEF.
According to the cabinet, the visiting foreign official “confirmed that the United Countries has begun searching for troops from different nations who meet the required requirements.”
Sudan hailed the participation of Bangladeshi troops in the UNISFA on Monday.
The French ambassador will go to Juba to have similar talks with South Sudanese government officials over Abyei and UNISFA.