Sudan's NCP, SPLM agree to withdraw military forces from Abyei

09:22, June 21, 2011      

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Sudan's National Congress Party ( NCP) in the north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south, on Monday signed an agreement stipulating withdrawal of all military forces from the country's disputed oil-rich area of Abyei.

The two sides, during their negotiations in Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, agreed on deployment of an Ethiopian force in Abyei according to the agreement signed between them, provided that the Ethiopian force should not be under the command of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

"This agreement is transitional until a final agreement on Abyei is reached," Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, the NCP official in charge of the Abyei file, told Xinhua by phone from Addis Ababa.

"The agreement has answered our concerns in the NCP and reaffirmed that Abyei belongs to the north. The decision of President Omar al-Bashir on dissolving the previous Abyei administration has also be accepted besides formation of a new balanced one in partnership with the NCP and the SPLM," he added.

He added that "the agreement stipulated the formation of a community police representing the population groups of the area and coincident withdrawal of the two forces, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). The agreement further stipulated withdrawal of the SPLA troops to south of Jan. 1, 1956 borderline."

On May 21, the SAF took control the country's disputed oil-rich area of Abyei in response to an attack by the SPLA against a SAF convoy, which resulted in killing of 22 SAF soldiers.

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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