Saturday, July 18, 2009

UN's Qazi warns of escalation in Sudan's Abyei

The top representative of the United Nations in Sudan on Saturday warned of an escalation in Abyei, a disputed enclave between northern and southern Sudan, in view of an upcoming international arbitration on the oil-rich area.

"Over the past weeks, we have received several reports and confirmations of the presence of SPLA soldiers and elements of the Southern Sudan Police service in the area, especially in and around Agok," said Ashraf Qazi, the special representative of the UN secretary general for Sudan, in a statement issued in Khartoum.

"This is a clear violation of the Abyei Roadmap agreement and could lead to escalation and violence if it remained unchecked," the UN official added, demanding that all these armed groups immediately withdraw to outside the area.

He said the international community was closely monitoring in and around Abyei and expected all sides to behave in the most responsible manner in order to avoid violence.

Qazi emphasized the need for the UN peacekeeping force to have full freedom in the broader Abyei area and its vicinity, saying that "the restrictions on our freedom of movement, particularly at this sensitive juncture, impede the (peacekeeping) Mission from discharging its mandate effectively".

Full story by Editor Yan (Xinhua) KHARTOUM, 18 July 2009 -- UN official warns of escalation in Sudan's Abyei

Click on Labels:  Abyei here below to read previous reports.

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