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Sudan Rejects Imposed Solution on Abyei, Minister Says

Sudan will not accept the international community’s attempt to impose a settlement on the disputed border region of Abyei, said Foreign Minister Ali Karti.

Sudan “will not at all accept any solution that will be imposed by the African Union, or the United Nations Security Council,” Karti said in an interview in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, today. “Imposing solutions will not make them lasting solutions.”

Sudan and South Sudan were given six weeks from Oct. 24 by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to consent to its mediator’s proposal to reach a deal on Abyei. The deal was accepted by South Sudan and rejected by Sudan.

The continental bloc said if its proposal was not agreed by the two countries before the now-expired deadline it would endorse it as “final and binding” and submit it to the United Nations Security Council.

No negotiations have taken place yet and the issue will be discussed at a meeting during an African Union summit in Addis Ababa next month, Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said today. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudan’s leader, Umar al-Bashir, expressed their “willingness” to attend, Lamamra told reporters.

The “council decides to refer the issue of the final status of Abyei” to the summit meeting, he said.

Cattle Herders

Abyei is contested between the region’s Ngok Dinka people, who are settled in the area and consider themselves southerners, and Misseriya nomads who herd their cattle south in the dry season and are supported by the government in Khartoum.

The African Union proposal said only people who reside in the area would be eligible to vote in a referendum on which country Abyei belongs to. In 2009, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague set Abyei’s borders to the area around Ngok Dinka settlements. That largely excluded the Misseriya, who say that as seasonal inhabitants of the area, they should also have the right to vote.

Karti said Sudan wants further mediation on the Misseriya issue, “taking into consideration that there is a big community living there with Dinka Ngok and they have to be considered.”

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