News / Africa

Sudanese Parties Agree to Demilitarize Tense Abyei Region

North and South Sudan have agreed in principle to demilitarize the tense Abyei border region and invite Ethiopian troops to keep peace along the disputed frontier.  The talks are entering a third day, bogged down over questions of how Abyei is to be administered after the south secedes July 9.

Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir left the Ethiopian capital late Monday after two days of difficult talks with southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir. The talks, under the guidance of a panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, are to continue Tuesday with a deputy taking over for Mr. Bashir.

Mbeki panel spokesman Barney Afako said the two sides had tentatively agreed to withdraw all forces from the heavily militarized Abyei region before the south secedes. They also agreed to accept deployment of Ethiopian peacekeeping troops.

But Afako conceded a lot must be done to ensure a smooth transition on July 9. "In principle the two parties agreed to the demilitarization. They agreed to a role for the Ethiopian forces. What is now left is to look at the proposals that the panel has put for this period. And as you know there are a lot of details to be worked out," he said.

A senior diplomat close to the talks says one of the big stumbling blocks is the future administration of Abyei. The north is said to be insisting on equal representation on any administrative body. Southern leaders argue a 50-50 split would not reflect the ethnic makeup of the region.

Spokesman Afako says two days of negotiating had failed to break the impasse on the Abyei question. "The question of the administration of Abyei is still on the agenda. How do you constitute an administration that ensures that the events that have just taken place, that we’ve seen the past few weeks do not repeat themselves. I think that is an issue on which we’re going to see more representations from the parties, and they’ll be engaging each other on that point," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met briefly with negotiators for both sides during a visit to Addis Ababa Monday. Her visit was cut short, however, because of a volcanic eruption in nearby Eritrea.

In a speech at the African Union, she applauded efforts to reach a negotiated settlement on contentious issues, in keeping with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil war in Sudan. "South Sudan is less than one month away from becoming the world’s newest state, and the governments of Sudan and South Sudan have made laudable progress in implementing certain provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but recent developments along the border, particularly in the Abyei region, are deeply troubling," she said.

Speaking to reporters in Tanzania earlier in the day, Clinton welcomed Ethiopia’s offer of peacekeeping troops as part of a United Nations mission. She said the mission would be eventually strengthened beyond the initial two Ethiopian battalions. She did not elaborate.

The secretary of state’s visit to Addis Ababa briefly overlapped with President Bashir’s, but US officials said the two did not meet. Mr. Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid