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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs