INTERVIEW: Sir Derek Plumbly re Abyei
The chairman of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission in Sudan says he is optimistic that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is achievable within the year if the current pace is maintained.For further reports, click on Abyei label here below.
Speaking to Sudan Radio Service on the phone, Sir Derek Plumbly said that there is a need to speed up the implementation of the outstanding issues which separate the two signatories to the CPA before the end of this year.
[Derek Plumbly]: “Yes it can be done, but the calendar is very tight. There are only 20 months left to the date set for the referendum in the south which is the last main event in the CPA implementation. And ahead of us we have elections in the Sudan which clearly requires a lot of preparation. I was projecting that the essential things can be done, but I think it will require reaffirmation of vital partnerships which exist between the SPLM and the NCP in the north and the south. Now we are approaching a crucial period when continued partnership and cooperation and a greater pace of implementation will be needed to achieve the objectives of the agreement.”
Sir Derek added that there is a need for the government of national unity to act quickly in order to solve the outstanding CPA issues.
[Derek Plumbly]: “The outstanding issues which I think need to be addressed quickly include the demarcation of the border between north and south. Because without clarity about where the border is, a lot of other things, including the elections, the referendum, future wealth-sharing and redeployment becomes impossible to complete, so it leaves things in suspense and may indeed seriously affect the election process in particular. I was concerned about the condition of the joint integrated unit which is supposed to be the basis for a future united army but in fact they are poorly equipped and supplied. And I was concerned too that the referendum bill, which needs to be passed without further delay if the preparation of the referendum are to be made in good time, needs to be forwarded, in parallel with discussion about arrangements after the referendum either in the event of unity or in the event of secession in the south. It can’t be delayed if that very important stage of the CPA implementation is to be properly prepared.”
Sir Derek is also concerned about the slow pace of implementation of the disputed region of Abyei since the Abyei Road Map was signed last year.
[Sir Derek Plumbly]: “Abyei is a very important issue, I confirm that the people who were displaced in the fighting last May haven’t yet been able to return and a lot of the things which were agreed in the Abyei road map have been done. The administration although in place, is still not properly financed to look after people’s needs and to facilitate return and reconstruction. And ahead of us we have the prospect of the arbitration decision on the boundaries of Abyei and whether the Abyei Boundary Commission exceeded its mandate. It’s very important the two work together as partners rather than rivals at this time to reassure the Dinka Ngoc and the Messiriya that their rights and their interests will be protected whatever happens. That is very necessary because it is a sensitive time.”
The Assessment and Evaluation Commission was established in 2008 to monitor and evaluate the prospect of the CPA implementation.
The commission meets regularly in Khartoum and Juba to report on the progress of the CPA.
It is represented by members from the SPLM, NCP, NGOs, and a team of international observers.