UN renews calls for Khartoum's troops to withdraw from Abyei town
The United Nations on Monday reiterated calls for Sudanese troops to withdraw from Abyei, an oil-producing town straddling the border between North and South Sudan, dpa reported.
The Sudanese government ordered troops to take over the town on Sunday, claiming that it was provoked by South Sudan, which is scheduled to become a sovereign state on July after seceding from the north in a referendum organized in January.
Both UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council strongly condemned the invasion of Abyei, an act they warned could trigger renewed fighting between North and South Sudan. The two parts fought a deadly civil war that ended in 2005 with a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), which allowed also the January referendum.
On Monday, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky reiterated the UN appeals for Sudanese troops to withdraw from Abyei. Under the 2005 peace agreement, Abyei was supposed to hold its own referendum in January to decide its future, but failed to do so.
The Security Council, which sent a delegation to Sudan on Sunday, said the seizure of Abyei "threatens to undermine the mutual commitment of the parties to avoid a return of to war and resolve all remaining CPA and post-CPA issues peacefully."
"The members of the Security Council call upon the Government of Sudan to halt its military operations and withdraw immediately from Abyei town and its environs," the council said in a press statement.