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UN Extends Mandate for Security Force in Abyei

FILE - Residents wave and cheer "Bye Bye Bashir" - referring to Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir - after the result of an unofficial vote was announced in the disputed border region of Abyei, whose ownership is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, Oct. 31, 2013. (AP)
The U.N. Security Council has extended the mandate of peacekeepers in the Abyei region that is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan.

In a unanimous vote, the Council passed a resolution Monday authorizing the force of mostly Ethiopian soldiers to remain in place through May 31 of next year.

Abyei's status has been in limbo since a 2005 peace agreement that ended a long civil war in the formerly unified Sudan.

On Monday, South Sudan envoy Francis Mading Deng urged the U.N. to take heed of an October referendum in which members of Abyei's Ngok Dinka tribe voted to join the south.

Neither Sudan nor South Sudan has recognized the unofficial referendum, in which the pro-Sudan Misseriya tribe did not take part.

Monday's resolution expressed concern over the referendum, and said the status of Abyei should be determined through negotiations and not by what the text called "unilateral actions of either party."

The 10,000-square-kilometer Abyei region is prized by both Sudan and South Sudan for its fertile land and oil reserves. The region currently is under U.N. administration.