News / Africa

US Names New Sudan Envoy Amid Concern Over Abyei

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to Ambassador Princeton Lyman, during the announcement of his appointment as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, March 31, 2011, at the State Department in Washington.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to Ambassador Princeton Lyman, during the announcement of his appointment as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, March 31, 2011, at the State Department in Washington.

The Obama administration on Thursday named veteran diplomat Princeton Lyman as its new special envoy for Sudan.  The announcement came amid growing U.S. concern about tensions in Sudan’s central Abyei region that threaten the country’s north-south peace process.  

Lyman came out of retirement last year to become the administration’s advisor on Sudan’s north-south negotiations, and he is taking on the wider role of Sudan special envoy amid worrisome north-south tension in Abyei.

The status of oil-rich Abyei, which straddles Sudan’s north-south dividing line, remains undecided despite January’s referendum in which southerners voted for independence.

Reports in recent days speak of a military buildup by both sides in Abyei, which is nominally demilitarized under Sudan’s 2005 peace accord.

At a press event introducing Lyman as the administration’s choice to replace former U.S. Air Force General Scott Gration as Sudan envoy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced concern about what she called the "dangerous standoff" in Abyei.

"We call on both sides to take immediate steps to prevent future attacks and restore calm.  Violence is simply unacceptable.  The deployment of forces by both side is in violation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and undermines the goodwill from January’s referendum, which was a very important foundation for the peaceful future of Sudan," he said.

Abyei was supposed to vote in January on whether to become part of the north or south, but the polling  was postponed because of disputes over voter eligibility.

Clinton, with new envoy Lyman at her side, praised the Sudanese government’s role in allowing the vote in the south to be held without coercion and for moving the process forward since January with a spirit of cooperation.

The Obama administration has laid out a "road map" for normalizing relations with Khartoum that is dependent on its cooperation.  Lyman told reporters he expects a decision removing Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism at the time the south becomes independent in July.

Lyman, a former Assistant Secretary of State, also credited the Khartoum government with helping to revive long-running negotiations in the Qatari capital, Doha, among Sudan and rebel groups on a settlement of the Darfur conflict.

"What’s happened most recently is that the Doha process has suddenly taken on life.  JEM [i.e., the Justice and Equality Movement], which is one of the big rebel groups, has now rejoined the process.  They’re working from the same text.  [Sudanese] President [Omar al-] Bashir was there yesterday saying we support the Doha process, which is a step forward because they weren’t clear on that.  So that’s an important step," he said.

Lyman said the U.S. diplomatic point man for Darfur, Dane Smith, will return to the region next week, and that he himself will leave Washington Saturday on his first mission as special envoy, for meetings in Sudan and Ethiopia.

Scott Gration, the previous U.S. Sudan envoy, has been named by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to Kenya.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid