During the meeting, which was facilitated by UNMIS, the JTC signed an agreement for the effective deployment of Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) and the withdrawal of all unauthorized forces from the Abyei area, to take place from 10 to 17 May.
Maj. Gen. Tag Eldeen Alzein Ahmed and Maj. Gen. Mac Paul Koul Awor signed on behalf of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) respectively.
“I believe there has been commitment from the parties and that has been reflected in the way the meeting went today,” said UNMIS Force Commander Maj. Gen. Moses Bisong Obi, who participated in the meeting. “There was good will on both sides and we hope to follow up on this spirit, to see that it is actualized because Abyei is very important in the peace process.”
The meeting followed a deteriorating security situation in Abyei that has raised concerns around the world. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently expressed deep concern about continued tension in the area.
“The Secretary-General underscores that the military stand-off is unacceptable. He deplores the persistent deadlock that has led to further loss of life,” his spokesman said in a statement last week.
On 5 May, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan Haile Menkerios, former Burundi President Pierre Buyoya of the Africa Union High Implementation Panel and U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman met with Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit in Juba to discuss implementation of the Kadugli Agreement.
Before travelling to Juba, Mr. Menkerios also met with the Government of Sudan in Khartoum, which also expressed readiness to implement the Kadugli and Abyei Agreements.
“The Presidency has taken a decision on the implementation of the Kadugli Agreements, following which our body, which is the technical committee on the implementation, was tasked to meet,” said Maj. Gen. Obi after the meeting in Kadugli today.
“We have come up with effective timelines for effective deployment of the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) and for the effective withdrawal of unauthorized forces, starting on 10 May,” he said. “While the exercise is going on, there will be visits in between. We shall be able to intervene to address issues that will arise.”
The committee will travel to Abyei on 9 May to meet with the administrator to brief him before starting the exercise on 10 May.
“We believe that in five to seven days from when we start, we should be through with the exercise,” said Major General Obi. “We believe the decision of the Presidency and what has happened today will go a long way in easing tension and creating an enabling environment for the political process decisions to be reached.”