24 May 2011 - The UN Security Council (UNSC) has urged the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) parties in the north and south to restore peace in Abyei and deal with critical, pending CPA issues with openness and flexibility.
"The time for hard and fast positions is gone, and the time for coming to successful resolutions of these issues is really now," said United States Ambassador Susan Rice, as the world body concluded its four-day visit to Sudan with a press briefing at UNMIS regional headquarters in Juba.
Ambassador Rice said the council was in the region to assure Southern Sudanese people that the UN and international community stood with them and would help them build their new state.
"We will contribute in a variety of ways in support of the government and the people's request, and we look forward to a robust and long-term partnership," Ambassador Rice said.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the council was very concerned about recent developments in the contested Abyei area. "We hope that very soon they meet (north and south) in order to resolve the situation," he said.
With the UNMIS mandate set to end on 9 July, the council also met with the mission's leadership to discuss the nature of a UN presence in an independent South Sudan.
"We had the opportunity to talk with the leadership of UNMIS about their thinking and the council's thinking about what might be the optimal configuration of a post- independent UN presence in Southern Sudan," said Ambassador Rice.
Earlier in the day, the delegation visited the Jebel Kujur Way Station, which is run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. It is currently housing 93 southern returnees who are awaiting repatriation to their final destinations.
"We have seen the incredible work of the UNHCR and other agencies in making things possible to make the return, primarily from the north, easier," said Ambassador for Bosnia and Herzegovina Ivan Barbalic.
The delegation also travelled to Malau Boma (district) in Bor County, Jonglei State, where a Livestock Patrol Unit supported by the UN Development Programme and UNMIS has its headquarters. Jonglei faces numerous security challenges, including cattle rustling, child abduction and tribal conflict, especiallyover grazing land, water and boundaries.
"(The visit) underscored to the council that there are a range of challenges, security and otherwise, that the new (nation) will face," said Ambassador Rice.
When the council arrived on 23 May, its members met with Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
"We had a very important and substantive meeting with President Kiir and his team, where we discussed a whole range of issues," Ambassador Churkin said.