Sudan says committed to peace despite fight in Abyei

08:54, May 25, 2011      

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The Sudanese government on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to the landmark peace agreement despite fighting in the disputed border region of Abyei.

Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, Sudanese Ambassador to Kenya Kamel Ismail Saeed said there is political commitment from both sides of the parties to the pace accord who have vowed never again to return to war. "We are committed to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which we still uphold to the latter and spirit. What is happening in Abyei is unfortunate that will not distract us from implementation the CPA," Saeed told journalists in Nairobi.

On Thursday, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) accused the south Sudan army, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), for attacking its convoy which was withdrawing from Abyei in implementation of the Kadugli security agreement.

Southern Sudan will formally secede from the rest of the country on July 9 as a result of a separate referendum.

The tensions have been exacerbated by the controversy over a referendum that would give residents of Abyei a chance to decide whether to remain part of the north or join southern Sudan, which voted in January to secede.

Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, the Sudanese envoy blamed the southern Sudan for provoking SAF, an integrated force which comprises of equal north-south soldiers and who are deployed to bring peace in the area. "Both sides have deployed their forces in Abyei but unfortunately Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement continues to provoke the northern forces within the integrated forces who are supposed to be integrated to work together as one force," Saeed said. "This provocation has happened in several cases and several times and despite all these attacks, Sudanese armed forces tried to restrain from any reactions and usually report the case to the appropriate parties," he said.

Saeed said during the last period, there were 24 cases of violations of the CPA by southern Sudan soldiers in the Abyei area which have been recorded and forwarded to the relevant authorities for action.

The Sudanese envoy said at least 14 SAF soldiers were killed, 11 injured and five were still missing while 6 military vehicles were set ablaze as a result of this attack which he described it as a serious breach of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan.

"Despite SAF's reaction to defend itself, the Sudanese government would like to reaffirm its known position that it is fully committed to the CPA both in letter and spirit. Any despite between the two parties should be resolved through peaceful means, " he said.

Saeed called on the international community, especially Kenya which hosted the protracted negotiations that culminated into the signing of the landmark peace accord in Nairobi in 2005, to remain actively engaged in the last phases of the CPA implementation in order to witness the peaceful establishment of a nascent country on July 9. "I hope the issue of Abyei will be resolved quickly to allow the peaceful secession of south Sudan. We will be very happy to see an independent, stable and peaceful country that will benefit both of us since there are so many things that we still share in common," Saeed said.

Source: Xinhua
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