A joint military force from Sudan’s northern and southern
regions would begin patrolling the restive Abyei region today (Monday) to help
ease brewing tensions there. The joint military force is part of a recent
security arrangement signed between President Omar al-Bashir’s National
Congress party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
agreement is reportedly the first step in the full implementation of the Abyei
Protocol, which would ensure equitable distribution of oil wealth among others.
This comes after President Bashir agreed with South Sudan’s President Salva
Kirr to invite international arbitrators to solve the Abyei dispute, which many feared
could undermine the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the
north and south and plunge the country into another civil war.
Arman is the spokesman for the SPLM. From the capital, Khartoum he tells
reporter Peter Clottey that South Sudan wants peace in the Abyei region.
is part of a security arrangement, which we signed recently as part of the
implementations of the Abyei protocol. We agreed we set up on joint battalion
from a joined integrated unit, which is going to be based in Abyei
administrative area. And when they are going to be deployed, all the forces
from the Sudan Armed Forces or the SPLA, they have to quit the area and to be
deployed outside the administrative area of Abyei,”
said the joint military force, which would patrol the oil-rich Abyei area would
help bring down tensions in the region.
will help. It is not an isolated action. It is part of a package whereby we are
going to have a security arrangement composed of one battalion from the joint
integrated unit, and the UN force would be free in its movement and the local
police. And then we are going to establish an administration according to the
terms of the Abyei protocol in the CPA where the chair of the administration
would be from the SPLM and his deputy is going to come from the National
Congress. And that would allow the IDP’s (internally displaced persons) to
return to their respective places. All these are part of the package including
wealth sharing formula, which we reached recently,” he said.
said the joint military force would be a permanent feature in the Abyei region
to help resolve the impasse in the region.
“It is supposed to be a
lasting security arrangement, and it is supposed to prepare the grounds for the
coming of the civil populations back after the destructions of Abyei towns and
villages. And it is supposed to be also part of packaged which we reached until
there would be arbitration on the demarcation of the final borders of the Abyei
area,” Arman pointed out.
He said the move would
significantly help in the full implementation of the Abyei Protocol.
“It definitely would help in
the implementation of the Abyei Protocol… in fact it is the first part to
prepare the ground and to provide security to the citizens to come back to the
area, and for the establishment of the new administration,” he said.
Arman said the SPLM welcomes
the move although there could be possible challenges.
“We are satisfied we
negotiated this deal. We are satisfied with the deal, but we are only worried
that there are some voices in the media from certain sectors, which are not
satisfied with the deal. But we are going to honor our commitment, and we are
for the deal to be implemented,” Arman noted.