Dubai: Sudan called on the United Nations to replace Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei with another force from different countries, Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi said on Wednesday.
Mahdi made the statement during an interview with the pan-Arab Al-Hadath news channel following the latest round of talks with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Kinshasa that ended with no progress.
The minister claimed that Ethiopia showed “unacceptable intransigence” in the talks over the GERD. Its decision to proceed with the second phase of the filling of its reservoir is contrary to international law, she said.
“It is not conceivable to accept Ethiopian forces deployed in the strategic depth of Sudan while the Ethiopian troops are massing on the eastern borders of Sudan,” Mahdi said.
Sudan will be reviewing its relations and cooperation agreements with Ethiopia, the minister said, but stressed that Ethiopian immigrants and refugees would not be affected.
The Abyei region – on the border between South Sudan and the Sudan – was accorded “special administrative status” by the 2004 Protocol on the Resolution of the Abyei Conflict that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War. Under the terms of the Abyei Protocol, the Abyei area was considered, on an interim basis, to be simultaneously part of both the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of the Sudan.
The UN Security Council responded to the urgent situation in Abyei by establishing the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in 2011 due to violence, escalating tensions and population displacement.
The operation was tasked with monitoring the flashpoint border between north and south and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, and is authorized to use force in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers.
UNISFA’s establishment came after the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarize Abyei and let Ethiopian troops to monitor the area.
In November last year, the Security Council renewed the UNISFA mandate for six months until 15 May 2021. The Security Council is expected to discuss the Sudanese request during a meeting that will take place on 26 April. Arab News