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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs