Sudanese Forces to Withdraw From Abyei Region as Ethiopian Troops Move in
Khartoum seized Abyei’s main town on May 21, causing tens of thousands of people to flee, triggering an international outcry and raising fears the two sides could return to open conflict.
Representatives of the south’s dominant party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the Sudanese government had been meeting for more than a week in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to try to reach an agreement over the region.
“The SPLM and the Sudanese government have signed an agreement on Abyei,” Mbeki, who has been mediating between the two sides, told reporters.
“It provides for the demilitarisation of Abyei so that the Sudanese armed forces would withdraw and for the deployment of Ethiopian forces.”
U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice on Monday called for a swift implementation of the agreement and the immediate deployment of Ethiopian troops.
In remarks to the U.N. Security Council, Rice said the United States would draft a U.N. resolution to authorise the Ethiopians’ deployment.
Senior southern official Deng Alor said the deal on Abyei would help build confidence as the two sides worked on other unresolved issues such as how to share oil revenues, demarcate their common border and divide up the national debt.
Southerners voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north in a January referendum that was the culmination of a 2005 peace deal ending decades of north/south civil war.
About 2 million people died in that conflict, fought over religion, ideology, ethnicity and oil.
The northern army has also been fighting southern-aligned troops in the north-run border state of Southern Kordofan for over two weeks, creating further tensions ahead of the split.