|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7067th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Renews Mandate of Interim Security Force for Abyei,
Urging Sudan, South Sudan to Increase Demilitarization Efforts
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until 31 May 2014, underscoring that the Force’s mandate included taking the necessary actions to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2126 (2013), acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also decided that support for the operational activities of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism would include support to the Ad Hoc Committees, when requested by their consensual decisions, within the Force’s operational area and existing capabilities.
By other terms of the text, the Council took note of the deployment in October of the initial group of 117 troops authorized by resolution 2104 (2013) and urged the deployment of the remaining authorized forces to enable UNISFA to provide force protection to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism. It also called on the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to make timely and effective use of various joint mechanisms to ensure the security and transparency of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, including the “14 Mile Area”.
Welcoming the redeployment of the Sudanese and South Sudanese military and police from the Abyei area, the Council demanded that Sudan also redeploy the oil police in Diffra, immediately and without preconditions.
By related terms, the Council urged Sudan and South Sudan to immediately resume the work of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee and supported that Committee’s 3 May decision on Abyei’s status as a weapons-free area. It also urged the Governments to take all steps to ensure that Abyei was effectively demilitarized, including through disarmament programmes.
Further, the Council requested that UNISFA, consistent with its mandate and within its existing capabilities, observe, document and report on the movement of weapons into Abyei and the presence of weapons within the area and urged its communities to exercise restraint and to desist from inflammatory acts or statements that may lead to violence.
Francis Mading Deng (South Sudan), speaking after the adoption, welcomed the Council’s renewal of the UNISFA mandate and said that Abyei remained a source of tension between the two countries, putting to risk their efforts to cooperate in other areas. Noting that the region had been on the Council’s agenda for years, he added that “virtually all agreements to bring peace and harmony to the area had been dishonoured by successive Governments of the Sudan”.
In May 2011, he went on, at the verge of the Southern referendum and prospective independence, Sudan had again invaded Abyei and occupied the area. The issue was eventually taken to the African Union whose Peace and Security Council, in partnership with the United Nations Security Council, had created UNISFA, primarily for the protection of civilians. After prolonged efforts that involved envoys and other mediators, the African Union High Implementation Panel had come up with a proposal which stipulated that the Abyei referendum be held in October 2013. That proposal was accepted by South Sudan, but rejected by Sudan.
In “despair and desperation”, he stressed, the people of Abyei had decided to organize their own referendum. The choice of the month of October was important as it was the time of the rainy season when only the permanent inhabitants of the area could be found and the Misseriya were back in their own northern homeland. That was why Sudan had objected to the referendum being held that month. By all accounts, the referendum was conducted in an “impressively efficient, orderly, professional and peaceful manner.”
He said that the African Union Peace and Security Council visited Abyei after the referendum and was able to confirm that the region was the land of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms and that the Misseriya — who only get there during the dry season in search of water and grazing — were absent. The Peace and Security Council had issued a press release on 6 November 2013 underscoring the inalienable rights of the people of Abyei to self-determination.
Whatever the international opinion on the referendum, he added, the residents must be protected against northern reprisals. Although UNISFA was able to provide a degree of protection, much more would be required in the event of a possible assault by the Misseriya and the Armed Forces of the Sudan. Further, the referendum was evidence of the community’s maturity and capacity for self-governance. The Ngok Dinka should be assisted in the process of reconstructing and rebuilding their area.
Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman ( Sudan), reaffirming his support of the renewal of the UNISFA mandate, said that the mission had done an excellent job in executing its mandate to maintain security in the region. Unfortunately, what the representative of South Sudan had said today went against the spirit of solidarity and cooperation that currently prevailed between the two countries. His words reflected a culture of war and referred to historic events that had passed long ago. “Are we here as representatives of our States or do we represent our narrow regions?” he asked.
The region of Abyei, as per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was not open to argument, he said. It was part of Sudan and would remain so until its final status was decided. Therefore, using terminology such as “aggression” and “occupation” was technically incorrect and South Sudan must not use those words. The region was part of Sudan whereas occupation was done by foreign forces that invaded areas that did not belong to them.
Expressing Sudan’s commitment to the Abyei Protocol to hold a referendum in the region, he added that it was, however, unacceptable for a referendum to be conducted in a unilateral manner. Sudan was ready to agree to the formation of temporary administrative mechanisms and those who were hesitant to set them up must be encouraged to move forward so that the two Presidents could come to an agreement about the final status.
Sudan strongly supported the adopted resolution, he said, wherein the Security Council had expressed its concern about the unilateral referendum. That ran counter to all the signed agreements. “We need wisdom and self-restraint. We do not need to add fuel to the fire,” he concluded.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:40 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2126 (2013) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and its presidential statements on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, and in particular, resolutions 1990 (2011), 2024 (2011), 2032 (2011), 2046 (2012), 2047 (2012), 2075 (2012), 2104 (2013), as well as presidential statements S/PRST/2012/19 and S/PRST/2013/14, and the Council’s press statements of 18 June 2012, 21 September 2012, 28 September 2012, 6 May 2013, and 14 June 2013,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Sudan and South Sudan, and to the purposes and the principles of the United Nations Charter, and recalling the importance of the principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference and regional cooperation,
“Reiterating that the territorial boundaries of States shall not be altered by force, and that any territorial disputes shall be settled exclusively by peaceful means,
“Affirming the priority it attaches to the full and urgent implementation of all outstanding issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),
“Reaffirming its previous resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1674 (2006) 1738 (2006) and 1894 (2009) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), and 2068 (2012) on children and armed conflict, 1502 (2003) on the protection of humanitarian and United Nations personnel, and 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), and 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010) and 2122 (2013) on women peace and security,
“Recalling the commitments made by the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan in the 20 June 2011 Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, the 29 June 2011 Agreement between the Government of the Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan on Border Security and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM), and the 30 July 2011 Agreement on the Border Monitoring Support Mission between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as the 27 September 2012 Agreements on Cooperation and Security Arrangements, the JPSM’s 8 March decision, and the Implementation Matrix of 12 March 2013, reached by the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP),
“Emphasizing the importance of the full participation of women in the implementation of agreements and in the prevention and resolution of conflict and peacebuilding more broadly,
“Expressing its full support for the efforts of the African Union on the situation between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, in order to ease the current tension, facilitate the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and the normalization of their relations, recalling in this regard the AU Peace and Security Council Communiqués of 24 April 2012, 24 October 2012, 25 January 2013, 7 May 2013, 29 July 2013, 23 September 2013 and 26 October 2013, and press statement of 6 November, and the statement from the Chairperson of the AU on 28 October 2013,
“Welcoming the 5-6 November AUPSC visit to Abyei, and its continued engagement in seeking a lasting solution so that the communities in Abyei can coexist peacefully, commending the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, and UNISFA for facilitating the visit, strongly regretting the 5 November violent demonstration and attempted forced entry by some Ngok Dinka at UNISFA’s headquarters, and welcoming the peaceful resolution to the protest through a meeting with the AUPSC delegation,
“Welcoming the efforts by the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to demilitarize the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ), including the “ 14 Mile Area,” and to implement the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), in accordance with Council resolution 2046 and the AU Peace and Security Council road map of 24 April 2012,
“Underlining the importance of establishing and maintaining effective JBVMM monitoring of the SDBZ, including the “14 Mile Area,”
“Stressing that both countries will have much to gain if they show restraint and choose the path of dialogue instead of resorting to violence or provocations,
“Welcoming the importance of recent meetings of President Bashir and President Kiir in continuing dialogue, recalling the UNSC decision in resolution 2046 that the parties must resume immediately negotiations to reach agreement on Abyei final status under the auspices of the AUHIP, calling upon all parties to engage constructively in the process mediated by the AUHIP toward final agreement on the final status of Abyei Area, and stressing that the parties must immediately implement pending aspects of the 20 June 2011 Agreement, in particular to resolve the dispute over the Abyei Area Council and immediately establish the Abyei Area Administration and Abyei Police Service,
“Commending the continued assistance provided to the parties by the AUHIP, including its Chairman President Thabo Mbeki, former Presidents Abdulsalami Abubakar and Pierre Buyoya, the Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) under the leadership of Major General Yohannes Tesfamariam,
“Commending the efforts of UNISFA in carrying out its mandate, including by its ongoing facilitation of peaceful migration throughout the Abyei Area and expressing its deep appreciation for the work of the troop-contributing countries,
“Encouraged by the improvements in security and stability in Abyei Area since the deployment of UNISFA, and determined to prevent the recurrence of violence against or displacements of civilians and to avert intercommunal conflict,
“Expressing its determination that the future status of Abyei shall be resolved by negotiations between the parties in a manner consistent with the CPA and not by the unilateral actions of either party,
“Deeply concerned by the public administration and rule of law vacuum in the Abyei Area, due to continued delays in the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration, Council and Police, including a special unit to deal with particular issues related to nomadic migration, which are essential to maintain law and order and prevent inter-communal conflict in Abyei,
“Noting with concern the continued threat of intercommunal violence in the Abyei Area, including the ongoing tensions that prevent UNISFA’s and other agencies’ Sudanese staff from returning to Abyei,
“Noting that the continued delay in establishing the temporary institutions and resolving the final status of Abyei contributes to tension in the region, emphasizing the importance of all parties refraining from any unilateral action to aggravate intercommunal relations within Abyei Area, and expressing concern over what the AUPSC described in their 6 November press statement as “the decision by the Ngok Dinka to conduct a unilateral referendum”, in contravention of the agreements signed between the two sides, and despite the calls for restraint from the international community, including the United Nations Security Council, AU Peace and Security Council and Governments of Sudan and South Sudan,
“Bearing in mind the importance of coherence of United Nations assistance in the region,
“Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all of its peacekeeping operations,
“Stressing the need for effective human rights monitoring, including of any sexual and gender-based violence and violations and abuses committed against children, taking note that there have been no developments with regard to the operationalization of human rights monitoring in the Abyei Area, and reiterating its concern at the lack of cooperation by the parties with the Secretary-General to this end,
“Stressing the urgency of facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all affected communities in the Abyei Area,
“Affirming the importance of voluntary, safe, orderly return and sustainable reintegration of displaced persons, and of peaceful and orderly migration cycles respecting the traditional migratory routes from Sudan to South Sudan through Abyei, and urging UNISFA to take measures as necessary to ensure security in the Abyei Area in accordance with its mandate,
“Recognizing the deleterious impact of the proliferation of arms, on the security of civilians,
“Concerned with the residual threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war in the Abyei Area, which hinders the safe return of displaced persons to their homes and safe migration,
“Recognizing that the current situation in Abyei and along the border between the Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace and security,
“Welcoming the steps taken by UNISFA towards the effective implementation of its mandate, including, inter alia, through conflict prevention, mediation and deterrence,
“1. Decides to extend until 31 May 2014 the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) as set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 1990 (2011) and modified by resolution 2024 (2011) and paragraph 1 of resolution 2075 (2012), and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, further decides to extend until 31 May 2014 the mandate of UNISFA as set out in paragraph 3 of resolution 1990, and determines that for the purposes of paragraph 1 of resolution 2024 (2011), support to the operational activities of the JBVMM shall include support to the Ad Hoc Committees, as appropriate when so requested by consensual decisions of these mechanisms, within UNISFA’s operational area and existing capabilities;
“2. Takes notes of the deployment in October of the initial group of 117 troops authorized by resolution 2104 (2013) and urges deployment of the remaining authorized forces as soon as possible to enable UNISFA to provide required force protection to the JBVMM and to enable UNISFA to fully support the JBVMM to conduct extended operations into the SDBZ as soon as possible, and requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council fully updated on the status of deployment as part of his regular reporting cycle;
“3. Welcomes the continued and effective efforts to fully operationalize the JBVMM, and calls on the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to make timely and effective use of the JBVMM, JPSM, and other agreed joint mechanisms to ensure the security and transparency of the SDBZ, including the “14 Mile Area”;
“4. Welcomes also the creation of the AU Border Programme Technical Team (AUBP TT) to determine conclusively the SDBZ centreline on the ground, and reiterates that the centreline of the SDBZ in no way prejudices the current or future legal status of the border, ongoing negotiations on the disputed and claimed areas, and demarcation of the borders, welcoming further both governments’ commitments to accept the AUBP TT’s findings;
“5. Underscores that UNISFA’s protection of civilians mandate as set out in paragraph 3 of resolution 1990 (2011) includes taking the necessary actions to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source of such violence;
“6. Welcomes the redeployment of Sudanese military and South Sudanese military and police personnel from the Abyei Area in compliance with resolution 2046, and reiterates its demand that the Government of Sudan redeploy the Oil Police in Diffra from the Abyei Area immediately and without preconditions, and further reiterates, in accordance with relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1990 and resolution 2046, that the Abyei Area shall be demilitarized from any forces, as well as armed elements of the local communities, other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service;
“7. Reiterates its demand that Sudan and South Sudan urgently commence the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration and Council, including by resolving the deadlock over the composition of the Council, and constitute the Abyei Police Service, to enable it to take over policing functions throughout the Abyei Area, including the protection of oil infrastructure, in accordance with their commitments in the 20 June 2011 Agreement;
“8. Urges Sudan and South Sudan to immediately resume the work of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) to ensure steady progress on the implementation of the 20 June 2011 Agreement, including the implementation of the AJOC decisions;
“9. Supports the AJOC’s 3 May decision on Abyei’s status as a weapons-free area, underscores the AU Peace and Security Council’s concern in its 7 May 2013 Communiqué over reports that various communities living in Abyei are heavily armed, recalls that the 20 June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area stipulates that Abyei should be a weapons-free area and that only UNISFA is authorized to carry weapons inside the area, and likewise urges the two governments to take all necessary steps to ensure that Abyei is effectively demilitarized, including through disarmament programmes as necessary;
“10. Requests that UNISFA, consistent with its mandate and within its existing capabilities, observe, document and report on the movement of weapons into Abyei and the presence of weapons within Abyei as part of the Secretary-Generals’ regular reporting cycle;
“11. Urges the two Governments immediately to take steps to implement confidence-building measures among the respective communities in Abyei Area, including through reconciliation processes at the grass-roots level, and strongly urges all Abyei communities to exercise maximum restraint in all their engagements and to desist from inflammatory acts, or statements that may lead to violent clashes, or any further unilateral activities;
“12. Requests UNISFA to continue its dialogue with the AJOC and with the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities on effective strategies and oversight mechanisms for ensuring full compliance by all relevant parties with Abyei’s status as a weapons-free area, with a particular priority placed on the urgent elimination of heavy or crew-served weapons, as well as rocket-propelled grenades, and calls upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, the AJOC, and the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities to extend full cooperation to UNISFA in this regard;
“13. Calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with the findings and recommendations following the Abyei Area Joint Investigation and Inquiry Committee’s (AAJIIC’s) investigation into the killing of a UNISFA peacekeeper and the Ngok Dinka paramount chief;
“14. Expresses its intention to review as appropriate the mandate of UNISFA for possible reconfiguration of the mission in light of the compliance by Sudan and South Sudan with the decisions set forth in resolution 2046 and their commitments as set forth in the Agreements of 20 June, 29 June, 30 July 2011, and 27 September 2012, including the redeployment of all forces from the SDBZ, achieving full operational capability for the JVBMM, and the Ad Hoc Committees, as well as completing the full demilitarization of the Abyei Area;
“15. Takes note of the Secretary-General’s review of UNISFA’s configuration in accordance with resolution 2104, and the assessment of the relevant risks and threats, and the force posture and troop ceiling required for implementation of its mandate;
“16. Calls upon all Member States, in particular Sudan and South Sudan, to ensure the free, unhindered and expeditious movement to and from Abyei and throughout the SDBZ of all personnel, as well as equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, including vehicles, aircraft, and spare parts, which are for the exclusive and official use of UNISFA;
“17. Renews its call on Sudan and South Sudan to provide full support to the United Nations, including by promptly issuing visas to military, police and civilian UN personnel, including humanitarian personnel, without prejudice to their nationality, facilitating basing arrangements and flight clearances providing logistical support, and calls on all parties to fully adhere to their obligations under the Status of Forces Agreements;
“18. Recognizes the absence of critical infrastructure projects affecting UNISFA peacekeeping personnel, notes the action being taken to address this situation, and urges the Secretary-General to continue to take the measures available to him to remediate this situation and better enable UNISFA to implement its mandate;
“19. Demands that the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan continue to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations Mine Action Service to ensure JBVMM freedom of movement as well as the identification and clearance of mines in the Abyei Area and SDBZ;
“20. Demands that all parties involved provide humanitarian personnel with full, safe and unhindered access to civilians in need of assistance and all necessary facilities for their operations, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance;
“21. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that effective human rights monitoring is carried out, and the results included in his reports to the Council, and reiterates its call upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to extend their full cooperation to the Secretary-General to this end, including by issuing visas to the concerned UN personnel;
“22. Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance of UNISFA with the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuses and to keep the Council informed if cases of such conduct occur;
“23. Stresses that continued cooperation between the Government of Sudan and Government of South Sudan is also critical for peace, security and stability and the future relations between them;
“24. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to inform the Council of progress in implementing UNISFA’s mandate in 90-day intervals, and continue to bring to the Council’s immediate attention any serious violations of the above referenced agreements;
“25. Notes the Secretary-General’s efforts to ensure close cooperation among United Nations missions in the region, including UNISFA, the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as well as his Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, and requests him to continue this practice;
“26. Decides to remain actively seized of this matter.”
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