Sudanese army announces end of military operations in Abyei

08:18, May 30, 2011      

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The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) announced end of military operations in Abyei area after controlling it last week, reported Sudanese dailies on Sunday.

"The situation in the area is back to normal," Khartoum's Al Ray Al Am daily quoted Al-Sawarmy Khalid Saad, SAF spokesman, as saying in a statement.

He called on members of Mesiria and Dinka Nkok tribes to return to the town and resume their normal life, according to the report.

The SAF, in its statement, vowed to protect all relief and humanitarian operations of the local and international organizations and to provide basic services for the citizens of the area.

On May 21, the SAF controlled the country's disputed oil-rich area of Abyei in response to an attack by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) against a SAF convoy, which resulted in killings of 22 SAF soldiers.

The Abyei events prompted concerns over possibility that north and south Sudan would return to war again just a little more than one month before south Sudan would officially be declared independent on July 9.

In the meantime, Vice President of south Sudan government Riek Machar started talks in Khartoum with Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha to reach a solution regarding the dispute over Abyei.

The Sudan ruling National Congress Party (NCP) earlier said it was ready to negotiate with south Sudan government regarding the Abyei area.

NCP official in charge of the Abyei file Al-Dirdiry Mohamed Ahmed told reporters that the government was open for dialogue and that the African Union would hold a meeting between the two parties to the dispute in Addis Ababa on Sunday to resolve the conflict.

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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