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UNSC asked to pressure Juba to allow Abyei aerial patrols

Author : | Published: Monday, October 31, 2016

UNISFA peacekeepers

The UN Secretary-General has appealed to the Security Council to urge South Sudan to end restrictions on aerial monitoring of the joint border monitors in Abyei.

Ban ki-Moon has also urged Sudan to issue visas in time for the police personnel serving in the force.

Ban ki-Moon wrote a letter to the Council containing reports of South Sudan denying landing rights to planes expected to monitor the border.

Zewda Belay Malefiya, a brigadier general serving in the UN Interim Security Forces for Abyei, also reported that the mission had conducted less aerial patrols along the border as a result of poor weather conditions, insecurity and troop rotations.

The UN Security Council is expected to deliberate on the possibility of extending the mandate of UNISFA. The current mandate will expire on 15th of November.

The body will consider the recommendation by Ban ki-Moon to renew the mandate of UNISFA for an additional six months.

Sudan has also been urged to issue visas in a timely fashion for police personnel serving in the mission.

The Secretary General’s report to the Security Council includes demands to the two countries to commit to withdrawing forces from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone under the cooperation agreements.

In August, First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, met in Khartoum with high-level Sudanese officials, including President Omar al-Bashir in which both countries committed to renewing the cooperation agreement.

Abyei area is still a contested region by South Sudan and Sudan.

A referendum on the status of Abyei was supposed to take place simultaneously with that of South Sudan in 2011; but both countries could not agree on the criteria for voter eligibility.

However, in October 2013, the Ngok Dinka organized a referendum vote in which they voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan, without the vote by the Arab Miseriya.

The Ngok Dinka have continuously urged the government of South Sudan and Sudan to recognize their vote.

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