The Security Council expresses grave concern about the ongoing violence and rapidly deteriorating situation in Abyei since the Council addressed the issue in its May 22 Press Statement, in which the Council condemned the attack by Southern forces against a United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) convoy escorting Sudanese Armed Forces elements of Joint Integrated Units on May 19 in Abyei, and also condemned the escalatory military operations being undertaken by the Sudanese Armed Forces, which have taken control of the area in and around Abyei town.
The Security Council strongly condemns the Government of Sudan’s taking and continued maintenance of military control over the Abyei Area and the resulting displacement of tens of thousands of residents of Abyei. The Council calls on the Sudanese Armed Forces to ensure an immediate halt to all looting, burning, and illegal resettlement. The Council stresses that all those responsible for violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, as well as those who ordered those acts, will be held accountable. The Council expresses grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the area and praises the efforts of the humanitarian community to deliver emergency assistance, including food, health care, shelter, and water, to those affected by the conflict, despite continued insecurity in the region and despite severe limitations on access.
The Security Council condemns the fact that two of the three main supply routes from the North to the South have been blocked, and that the Banton Bridge in Southern Abyei was destroyed by the Sudanese Armed Forces, which impedes needed trade and makes the return of civilians to Abyei more difficult. The Council calls for immediate measures to restore full access through all routes.
The Security Council calls on all parties to respect humanitarian principles and allow all humanitarian personnel timely and unfettered access to vulnerable individuals and communities affected by the fighting. The Council further calls for conditions to be created that would allow the prompt and safe return of those displaced from their homes.
The Security Council strongly condemns all attacks against UNMIS, including those of May 24 and May 19, which are criminal acts against a UN mission and its personnel and which threaten to undermine the commitment of the parties to avoid a return to war.
The Security Council recalls the commitments made by Vice President Ali Osman Taha and First Vice President Salva Kiir that both parties shall remove any unconditional claims to Abyei in their draft national constitutions and urges the parties to avoid inflammatory rhetoric, especially from the leadership, which undermines the mutual commitment of the parties to resolve all remaining Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and post-CPA issues peacefully through negotiation. The Council again urges both parties to honor these commitments.
The Security Council expresses grave concern following the reports about the unusual, sudden influx of thousands of Misseriya into Abyei town and its environs that could force significant changes in the ethnic composition of the area. The Council condemns all unilateral actions meant to create facts on the ground that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations. The Council expresses its determination that the future status of Abyei shall be resolved by negotiations between the parties in a manner consistent with the CPA and not by the unilateral actions of either party.
The Security Council reiterates that the continued military operations of the Government of Sudan and militia activities in Abyei constitute a serious violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Kadugli agreements. The Council demands that the Government of Sudan withdraw immediately from the Abyei Area. The Council further demands the immediate withdrawal of all military elements from Abyei. The Council demands that the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan cooperate fully with the Special Representative of the Secretary General of UNMIS and the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), led by President Thabo Mbeki, to establish immediately a viable security arrangement for Abyei, supported by UNMIS, in which all Sudanese Armed Forces, Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and allied forces withdraw from the Abyei Area. The Council notes that UNMIS remains ready to assist in the implementation of all relevant agreements reached by the parties. The Council underscores that failure by the Government of Sudan to comply with and to fulfil the CPA jeopardizes the benefits that could flow from such compliance.
Given the ongoing insecurity in Abyei, the Security Council believes that the security and prosperity of both parties would benefit from a continuing UN-mandated presence in Abyei after July 9, as well as from UN assistance for the parties’ management of their border after the independence of South Sudan. In this context, the Council urges the parties to reach agreement on a continuing UN-mandated presence.
The Security Council stresses that both parties will have much to gain if they show restraint and choose the path of dialogue, including ongoing high level negotiations between the parties and negotiations under the auspices of the AUHIP and its chair President Thabo Mbeki, instead of resorting to violence or provocations.
The Security Council expresses deep concern about tensions in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States. The Council calls for discussions about post-CPA political and security arrangements for Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States to resume immediately and for all parties to refrain from unilateral action pending the outcome of those negotiations. The Council stresses that CPA structures intended to stabilize the security situation in the Two Areas, specifically the deployment of Joint Integrated Units, should continue until their expiration on July 9. The Council calls on both parties to work to reduce tensions and promote calm in this sensitive region. The Council further underscores the need for the parties to respect the mandate of UNMIS.
The Security Council underscores the responsibility of the parties to protect civilians, and to respect UNMIS’s Chapter VII mandate for protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence in Abyei. In this regard, the Council condemns in the strongest terms ongoing threats and intimidation against UNMIS elements. The Council expresses its strong ongoing support for the UN Mission in Sudan, under the able leadership of SRSG Haile Menkerios.
The Security Council will remain seized of this matter and will meet to review the implementation of this statement in the coming days.