New UN mission proposed for South Sudan

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 15:41

United Nations: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a new UN mission for South Sudan after it becomes independent on July 9, requesting 7,000 troops to protect civilians and a mandate to help the new government prevent conflict and consolidate peace.

Ban`s proposal in a report to the Security Council was circulated yesterday, as the UN`s most powerful body was visiting Sudan.

But it was written before serious fighting erupted last week in the disputed oil-rich Abyei region on the border between the Arab-dominated north and mainly ethnic African south. The clashes threaten to unravel a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war and re-ignite the fighting.

The south voted overwhelmingly to secede from Sudan, Africa`s largest country, in a January referendum called for under the peace agreement. But key provisions of the 2005
agreement have not been resolved.

The secretary-general called the dispute over the future status of Abyei "the greatest challenge" to implementing the peace accord.

He urged leaders from both sides to demonstrate "political will" and solve key issues including setting the north-south borders, resolving Abyei`s future through the referendum called for in the peace agreement, and agreeing on security arrangements.
New UN mission proposed for South Sudan

United Nations: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a new Un mission for South Sudan after it becomes independent on July 9, requesting 7,000 troops to protect civilians and a mandate to help the new government prevent conflict and consolidate peace.

Ban`s proposal in a report to the Security Council was circulated yesterday, as the UN`s most powerful body was visiting Sudan.

But it was written before serious fighting erupted last week in the disputed oil-rich Abyei region on the border between the Arab-dominated north and mainly ethnic African south. The clashes threaten to unravel a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war and re-ignite the fighting.

The south voted overwhelmingly to secede from Sudan, Africa`s largest country, in a January referendum called for under the peace agreement. But key provisions of the 2005
agreement have not been resolved.

The secretary-general called the dispute over the future status of Abyei "the greatest challenge" to implementing the peace accord.

He urged leaders from both sides to demonstrate "political will" and solve key issues including setting the north-south borders, resolving Abyei`s future through the referendum called for in the peace agreement, and agreeing on security arrangements.
Ban said the best way is through the framework established in the 2005 agreement until an alternative arrangement is found. That framework includes the only forum for the parties to meet, under UN auspices, to prevent or mitigate conflict on either side of the border, including
Abyei.

"I therefore cannot stress enough the critical nature
of these negotiations and the responsibility that rests on the
leaders of the two states to reach agreements that will
provide the foundation for peace and security in the Sudan and
South Sudan and the region as a whole," the secretary-general
said.

The government of South Sudan has asked for the UN to
establish a follow-up mission after the current mandate
expires on July 9, but the government in Khartoum has not.

Ban urged the north and the south, and the Security
Council, to consider extending the mandate of the current
10,400-strong UN peacekeeping mission for three months, from
July 9 to Oct. 9.
During that period, Ban said, the UN will start reducing its presence in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and
focus on assisting both sides to maintain calm and resolve
outstanding issues including finding an acceptable arrangement
for monitoring the border.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 15:41

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