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The New Arab

UN sees 'serious threat' in disputed Sudan region

The fighting forced thousands to flee the region [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2018

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The UNSC warned the lack of progress in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan was a grave threat to international security.

The lack of progress in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan was a grave threat to international security, the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] warned on Tuesday.

Tensions between the Arab Misseriya and Ngok Dinka peoples of the region has continued despite an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan years ago to take steps for setting up an administrative structure for Abyei.

But the Security Council expressed disappointment in the resolution that "few steps" have been taken in that direction.

"The current situation in Abyei and along the border between the Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace and security," the resolution stated.

It equally lamented a lack of progress "to achieve a political resolution to the status of Abyei".

Council members urged "the two governments to take all necessary steps to ensure that Abyei is effectively demilitarised, including through disarmament programs as necessary," and urged an end to violence.

The Security Council issued the warning in a resolution that unanimously extended until mid-November the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei [UNISFA], its peacekeeping mission there. Almost the entire UNISFA contingent of more than 4,800 troops comes from Ethiopia.

Peace is fragile in Abyei, an area of about 4,000 square miles (10,500 square km) contested since Sudan split into two countries in 2011.

In November 2015, shelling in Abyei killed a four-year-old girl and a UNISFA peacekeeper.

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