News / Africa

No Deal in Talks on Sudan's Disputed Abyei Region

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha (File Photo)
Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha (File Photo)

The US-mediated talks between north and south Sudan on the disputed Abyei region have ended in deadlock. Frantic diplomatic efforts are on to try to salvage the 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan's 20 year civil war.

Sudanese Vice P resident Ali Osman Taha was reported flying from Khartoum to the southern capital, Juba Tuesday for urgent talks with Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kir.

The hastily-arranged meeting comes after nine days of talks in Addis Ababa on the future of the hotly contested Abyei region ended in apparent failure. As he left the Addis Ababa talks Tuesday morning, Southern People's Liberation Movement leader Pagan Amum blamed the country's ruling National Congress Party for the failure.

"We have been here for nine days to discuss removing obstacles facing implementation of the Abyei protocol," said Amum. "These talks have failed to reach any agreement, unfortunately, despite the hard work exerted by the mediator, General Scott Gration with his team."

A joint statement by the SPLM and the Khartoum government after Tuesday's breakdown said the talks 'did not succeed in reaching agreement on the eligibility criteria for voters' in a referendum to determine whether Abyei goes north or south in the likely event the south votes to secede in January.

The statement said the parties "continue to commit themselves to their mutual goal of avoiding a return to conflict", and said another meeting would be held in Ethiopia later this month.

But SPLM Secretary-General Amum told VOA that with less than 90 days remaining until a scheduled referendum on southern secession, the entire process is in danger of collapse.

"We are left with 90 days, the time is very critical, and if the parties fail to sort out these issues, this could lead to an end of the peace process itself and the peace may unravel in the Sudan," added Amum.

The main issue over the past few days of talks has been a U.S. proposal that would avoid the potentially disruptive referendum on Abyei's status through an advance deal on borders and citizenship issues. But southern delegates speaking privately to VOA say while the deal sounds good in principle, the details leave too much of Abyei's resources in the hands of the north.

Part of the dispute centers on dividing the region's oil resources, but a bigger issue appears to be the citizenship of a northern-allied nomadic tribe that grazes its cattle in Abyei for part of the year.

Diplomats close to the talks say the next round will include the three parties involved in this round, along with the African Union special envoy on Sudan, former South African president Thabo Mbeki. Mr. Mbeki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi are said to be playing important behind-the-scenes roles in trying to bring the negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs