News Analysis: Escalation of violence in Sudan's Abyei might be last straw for CPA: analysts

09:05, May 25, 2011      

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Violence in Sudan's Abyei region has been increasing recently as the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) adhered to their own positions and rejected solutions proposed by the African Union (AU).

Observers and analysts expressed their concerns over the situation, particularly after bullets have become the only language between the rivals in Abyei, saying that the escalation of violence there might be the last straw for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which has endured for six years.

The situation in Abyei escalated after the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) ambushed a convoy of Sudanese army soldiers and UN peacekeepers in the area on May 20, which resulted in the deaths of 22 northern Sudanese army soldiers.

On May 21, the Sudanese army took control of the Abyei area and said the region belonged to north Sudan and rejected responding to calls by south Sudan to withdraw from Abyei.

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) on Tuesday said more than 15,000 civilians have fled Abyei to Agok area in south Sudan after the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) had controlled Abyei.

Abyei is close to the oil fields in southern Sudan's Unity State and at the same time lies in South Kordofan State, the only oil-producing state in northern Sudan.

Mohamed Hassan Saeed, a Sudanese political analyst, told Xinhua that "it seems that the military option has become more likely than any other option and no doubt that the current events in Abyei area will cast their shadows on the progress of the negotiations between the two partners."

Saeed further held the SPLM responsible for the recent tension in Abyei, saying "there were indications for this tension including that the SPLA was irregular and unable to commit to the political and military directives."

"Additionally, the repeated complaints of the SAF against the violations by the SPLA indicated that incidents could take place at anytime. It is true that there were clashes now and then, but the recent ambush by the SPLA against the SAF was the main event which ended years of fragile peace," he added.

He went on saying that "the SPLM, since December 2010, has been occupying the Abyei area which entirely lies north of 1956 borders which the Naivasha agreement considers a special area being under consultations. Besides, the SPLM deployed many armed groups to undermine the security and stability in the area."

Khalid Abdalla, the lecturer of political science at al-Rasid Center for Strategic Studies in Khartoum, told Xinhua that "Abyei has proved that the CPA between north and south Sudan was not comprehensive as it has left many issues outstanding."

"The Abyei protocol was like the barrel of ammunition which could explode at anytime, which set Sudan's future at stake. There are less than two months ahead of the official declaration of south Sudan's independence," he added.

A referendum on Abyei was supposed to be held on Jan. 9, 2011, coincident with the south Sudan referendum, but it was postponed in the wake of a difference between the NCP and the SPLM over who has the right to vote in the referendum.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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(Editor:石希)

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