November 24, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – The Norwegian ambassador to Sudan, Endre Stiansen has called for expedited talks for a lasting solution on the status of the disputed Abyei area.
The diplomat made the remarks at a meeting with members of the committee tasked by President Salva Kiir to engage Sudanese leaders on how Abyei issue can be resolved.
South Sudan’s Minister for East African Affairs, Deng Alor Kuol said the committee held meaningful discussions with the Norwegian envoy in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.
“There is no new development. We are still talking through the good offices of world leaders. Some of them continue to support peace efforts. Some are talking about the political situation in Sudan. But overall, the global support for Abyei is unshakable. It is intact. Norway stands strong with the cause of the people of Abyei and it has called for accelerated talks,” he told Sudan Tribune
Alor said a delegation led by security affairs advisor, Tut Gatluak Manime were in Khartoum and met different Sudanese leaders, including the chairman of the Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and his deputy, Gen Mohammed Hamdan Daglo.
The committee, he further explained, was now doing diplomatic engagements to elicit support for the cause of the area within the framework of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which contains the Abyei Protocol on the area and the ruling of 2009 by the international court of Arbitration at the Haque.
He commended the effort of the government and the people of Norway.
A statement before the United Nations Security Council in October 2022 said Norway “remains deeply concerned about the high level of tension in and around Abyei”.
“We note with particular concern the report’s reference to “coordinated attacks on Ngok Dinka communities by Twic Dinka and Misseriya”. The statement delivered by the Norwegian permanent representative to the United Nations said the repeated cycles of violence between communities make development impossible, and they have a devastating effect on civilians- including children.
It called on the Misseriya, the Ngok Dinka, and all neighbouring groups to show restraint, and engage in efforts to decrease tensions ahead of the next dry season.
It also commended the efforts of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei and urged that it must remain operational, willing, and ready to implement its full Chapter VII mandate to protect civilians under threat of physical violence.
“First, we need to see progress on the most contested issue: will Abyei belong to Sudan or South Sudan? While this remains unresolved, the implementation of the joint mechanisms- as stipulated in the June 2011 agreement is essential to ensure stability and provide services for the people. This will strengthen cooperation and build trust between the communities on the ground. We welcome the high-level meeting between Sudan and South Sudan earlier this week and urge the parties to commit to regular meetings in the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee,” the statement reads in part.
It continued: “We encourage the governments in both countries to promote inclusive political processes that consider the views of the local populations and ensure the protection of civilians, including children. Cross-border cooperation is and will continue to be key for a future where people enjoy security and development. And practical confidence-building measures create a conducive environment. Neither side should see ‘the final solution as a zero-sum-game.
Norway, according to the statement, also strongly supports the renewal of UNISFA’s mandate. “We urge the parties to implement the joint mechanisms. And we call on the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan to redouble their efforts towards an agreement on the final status of Abyei”.
Observers and political analysts have always pointed out how the final status of Abyei should be resolved amicably have always caused tension between the rival sides.
A referendum at which the people of the Abyei would have had the opportunity to decide on whether they continue to be part of Sudan to which the area was transferred in 1905 or return to south Sudan from which it was removed and annexed to Kordofan in Sudan never took place in 2011.
The failure has caused frustrations, with natives feeling betrayed by South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on one hand and President Kiir and his administration on the other.
Kiir declared in a statement in October 2022 that his administration prefers cooperation with Sudan as a means through which the final status of Abyei could be settled.