Council extends UNISFA mandate, urges progress on Abyei
17 May 2012 - The UN Security Council today demanded that Sudan immediately and unconditionally withdraw all remaining military and police personnel from the disputed Abyei area.
In a resolution that renewed the mandate of UN peacekeepers in Abyei for six months, the Council also demanded that Sudan and South Sudan establish an administration for Abyei in line with an agreement signed last year.
The Council established the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in June 2011 following an outbreak of violence after Sudanese troops took control of the area, displacing tens of thousands of people.
Welcomed the withdrawal of South Sudanese military and police personnel from Abyei, as called for by the UN body, the Council stated that "the Abyei Area shall be demilitarized from any forces other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service".
It urged Sudan and South Sudan to make regular use of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee to ensure steady progress on implementation of the June 2011 agreement. The pact, signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, provides temporary administrative arrangements for Abyei and the withdrawal of troops by both sides.
"Sudan and South Sudan shall unconditionally withdraw all of their armed forces to their side of the border in accordance with previously adopted Agreements, and activate the necessary border security mechanisms, namely the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone," the Council stated.
It expressed the intention to review UNISFA's mandate after four months for possible reconfiguration, in light of compliance by Sudan and South Sudan with decisions set forth in an earlier resolution and their commitments to last June's agreement.
The Council urged all member states, particularly Sudan and South Sudan, to ensure free, unhindered and expeditious movement to and from Abyei, and throughout the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone of all personnel, as well as equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, including vehicles, aircraft and spare parts intended for UNISFA's official use.
The world body also demanded that the Sudanese and South Sudanese governments facilitate deployment of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), as well as identification and clearance of mines in Abyei.
"All parties must also provide humanitarian personnel with full, safe and unhindered access to civilians in need of assistance in accordance with international humanitarian law," the Council said.