News / Africa

South Sudan Presses for Abyei Referendum

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (3rd L) shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir as he arrives for talks at Khartoum Airport, Sept. 3, 2013.South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (3rd L) shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir as he arrives for talks at Khartoum Airport, Sept. 3, 2013.
x
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (3rd L) shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir as he arrives for talks at Khartoum Airport, Sept. 3, 2013.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (3rd L) shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir as he arrives for talks at Khartoum Airport, Sept. 3, 2013.
James Butty
South Sudan has called on the international community to ensure quick implementation of the agreement to hold a referendum to determine the final status of the disputed oil-rich border region of Abyei.  

Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the referendum is the only democratic way for the people of Abyei to decide whether they want to remain in the north or return to the south.  

The 2005 peace agreement between North and South Sudan called for a referendum for the people of Abyei to decide if they want to remain part of Sudan or South Sudan.  

The African Union High Implementation Panel has set October for the referendum to be held.  But, while Juba supports a referendum, Khartoum is opposed and favors a negotiated political settlement.  

Benjamin said Juba received international backing during the 68th UN General Assembly for the referendum to take place as planned.

“During the annual General Assembly of heads of state in New York, both the foreign minister of Sudan and me as the foreign minister of South Sudan, were invited to brief the African Union Peace and Security Council. On our side, we briefed our commitment for the referendum to go ahead in Abyei.  The majority of members of the African Union endorsed the legality of conducting a referendum in Abyei,” he said.

Benjamin said both Sudan and South Sudan also briefed a UN team, including the five permanent member countries of the Security Council, as well as member countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“So, yes indeed, by all assessment, we got the support that the proposal of the African Union on referendum should be implemented.  What they have not done is that they have not fixed the date of that referendum which is supposed take place in October,” he said.

Benjamin said the international community must put pressure on Sudan to accept the proposal for a referendum.

“That’s why, in my briefing to the African Union Peace and Security Council in New York, I told the members that they need to persuade Sudan to go along with the decision that has been agreed upon by us as partners as well as a comprised proposal by the African Union which is blessed by the UN Security Council [Resolution] 2046.  So, what has not been done is for Sudan to agree to that and for a date to be fixed.  And this is why we need pressure from all these countries to put on Sudan to go along,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin said South Sudan is ready to make whatever contribution it can make towards financing the referendum.  But, he says it is the responsibility of the entire international community.

“I think the commitment is not only the commitment of the Republic of South Sudan.  We will make our own little contribution, according to our own ability.  But, it is the commitment of the international community, as a whole, the African Union and the United Nations system,” Benjamin said.

Abyei is inhabited by the Misseriya tribe of Arab origin supported by the north and the Ngok Dinka tribe, which enjoys support in South Sudan.

The Khartoum government is opposed to the idea of a referendum and favors a negotiated political settlement.

Benjamin said the referendum is the only democratic solution and that the people of Abyei are ready for it.

“You remember Abyei in 1905 was a part of South Sudan, and then it was transferred for administrative reasons into the northern part of the Sudan. Now, with the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] protocol on Abyei, we equally agreed that the people of Abyei shall have a referendum to choose whether they remain in the north or to come back to where they were taken from in the beginning.  So, yes, the referendum issue is a part of the political settlement of the whole final settlement of Abyei,” he said.
Butty interview with Benjamin
Butty interview with Benjamini
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: malong Guot Deng from: Yei
October 09, 2013 9:13 AM
Referendum is the only dialogue for Abyei

by: Yaiyaat from: Abyei
October 09, 2013 8:17 AM
Thank a lot for telling me about news thing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs