Cautious Optimism About Sudan’s Abyei

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UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (UPI) — More than 500 peacekeepers were deployed to the disputed Abyei region of Sudan though a U.N. envoy said the troops have encountered regional problems.

South Sudan became the world’s newest independent nation July 9. Its secession from Sudan came through a peace deal reached in 2005 that ended a civil war in the region.

Issues like citizenship, the sharing of oil revenue and border demarcation are unsettled. Border conflicts centered on Abyei and South Kordofan state threaten the principles of the peace agreement.

Alain Le Roy, U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told the U.N. Security Council that more than 500 peacekeepers deployed to Abyei in Sudan as part of the U.N. Interim Security Force for Abyei.

He said both parties to the conflict in Sudan appear committed to avoiding an escalation of violence and both sides are committed to working with UNISFA.

“However, the deployment is facing difficulties as we work with the government of Sudan to clarify the use of the El Obeid logistic base,” which was used by the defunct U.N. Mission in Sudan, Le Roy said.

The envoy, however, said U.N. forces had received agreements from both sides to withdraw once UNISFA troops deploy.

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