North, South Sudan urged to prioritize peace

13:54, June 28, 2011      

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Leaders from North and South Sudan recently signed an agreement on the Abyei issue in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, under which they agreed to remove all military forces from the disputed Abyei region and allow the United Nation and the Ethiopian government to deploy peacekeepers in the region as soon as possible.

The U.N. Security Council listened to the newest progress of its mediation efforts at a special meeting on Sudan, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made a statement welcoming the result.

North and South Sudan have reached a consensus on provisional administrative and security arrangements in the Abyei region, showing good intentions on both sides to maintain peace and stability in the region. The international community expects both sides to implement the agreement under the help of the African Union and the United Nations.

During South Sudan's referendum in early 2011, an overwhelming majority of voters supported the separation of South Sudan from Sudan. According to the "Comprehensive Peace Agreement" signed by North and South Sudan, South Sudan will declare independence on July 9. However, North and South Sudan have not tackled some critical issues, such as the territorial claims to some areas near the border, the distribution of oil revenues and the assumption of debt obligations.

As the independence date is drawing near, there is a growing concern over the relations between the southern and northern forces in Sudan and the actual situation in the country, especially in the oil-rich Abyei region. Abyei, which covers an area of over 10,000 square kilometers, straddles northern and southern Sudan and is claimed by both sides.

A referendum was supposed to be held in January 2011 to see whether the people of Abyei wanted to join the north or south, but it was shelved because northern and southern officials could not agree on who was eligible to vote. The northern troops and U.N. peacekeepers were ambushed in Abyei in May. Shortly afterward, the region was seized by the northern troops.

Clashes between the northern Sudan Armed Forces and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army began in Kaduqli, the capital city of South Kurdufan State and other regions in the state since June 5. So far, more than 70,000 local people have been forced to flee from their homes.

North and South Sudan experienced a nearly 50-year civil war after the establishment of the Republic of Sudan in 1956 and both sides failed to defeat the other side. A total of more than 2 million people have died and millions of people were left homeless during the war. As a result, Sudan, which is rich in resources, has become one of the world's poorest countries. North and South Sudan signed the "Comprehensive Peace Agreement" in 2005, which created the conditions for satisfying the people's hopes of peace and promoting reconciliation as well as the common development of both sides. Since the two sides have made the choice of peace, they must unswervingly adhere to this choice to treat the old differences with a calm, restrained, rational and tolerant attitude and properly handle possible disputes with a spirit of mutual understanding and equal consultation to avoid the further escalation of tension. Sudan has repeatedly proven with its own experience that peace benefits both sides, while wars can only bring losses to both sides.

Sudanese president Omar al-Beshir previously reaffirmed that Sudan will recognize the new country that will be established in southern Sudan next month, and will launch cooperation with this new country. People welcome the birth of a new sovereign state on the banks of the Nile and also hope that North and South Sudan can follow the path of peace and stability, cooperation and development in the future.

By Yue Lushi from People's Daily and the article is translated by People's Daily Online.

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