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Security Council Briefing on UNISFA

A3 joint Declaration delivered by H.E. Mr Michel Xavier BIANG,

Ambassador, Permanent Representative

21 April 2022

Thank you, Madam President,

1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3 namely Ghana, Kenya, and Gabon.

2. I thank Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and, USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix for their insightful presentations on the situation in Abyei and the activities of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA).

3. Our presentation will focus on three points: Political, Security and Humanitarian situation.

Madam President,

4. The A3 notes that the relations between Sudan and South Sudan have continued to strengthen which offers an opportunity for the two countries to advance efforts for resolving the pending post-independence issues, including on Abyei.

5. The lack of strong administrative institutions that can assume responsibility for the administration of the area, particularly in terms of security and justice, further weakens the situation in the territory.

6. The A3 therefore urges for resumption of dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan to accelerate the implementation of the pending aspects of the Agreement on the Temporary Administrative and Security Arrangements for Abyei. In all efforts the interests of the people must be given priority to hope for a better future.

7. We call on the parties to implement the recommendations and conclusions of the meetings of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) and the Joint Abyei Oversight Committee (AJOC).

8. The A3 further reiterates its call on the need for Sudan and South Sudan to regularly convene and actively participate in the JPSM which remains critical to ease tensions and promote dialogue on issues affecting Abyei region.

9. We welcome UNISFA convening of the intercommunal peace dialogue, as well as efforts to encourage participation of women and youth. We call for the full participation of women and youth in all institutions and in the political process in Abyei.

10. The A3 reiterates the need for two countries to double their efforts to proceed to the realization of the final status of Abyei considering the expectations of the people, more than ten years after the establishment of UNISFA. The facilitation role of the African Union High Implementation Panel and the support of the international community remains critical in this regard.

Madam President,

11. On the security front, the A3 is deeply concerned by the resurgence of armed violence and inter-communal attacks in Abyei. The A3 strongly condemns the clashes that have occurred in recent months in northeastern Abyei between the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities as well as in the southern part of the region, which have resulted in several civilian casualties and the displacement of populations. These latest attacks, as well as those which occurred in the past in Kolom, Mabok, and Dunguop should be investigated and those responsible be held accountable.

12. The A3 calls on the Parties to resume dialogue and to not take any action that may exacerbate tensions. We urge the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to cease all hostile activities that could have deplorable consequences for local populations who are already living in a fragile security situation.

13. On the humanitarian situation, we note that significant challenges continue to impact daily lives of people of Abyei, particularly on the most vulnerable, with respect to access to basic needs and services. We welcome the establishment of the Abyei Joint Programme of the United Nations country teams of Sudan and South Sudan. We look forward for the finalization of the project document for service delivery, including on water, health, education, conflict resolution, communication, and infrastructure.

14. The A3 also underscores the need of enhancing humanitarian assistance to the population of Abyei. We condemn in the strongest terms the reported incidences of armed attacks against UNISFA personnel and humanitarian workers. We express our sincere condolences to the families of the humanitarian workers who died in Abyei, and we call for urgent investigations and the conviction of those responsible. All measures must be taken to ensure protection of humanitarian workers and unfettered humanitarian access.

15. We further urge the two countries to fully respect the status of forces agreement and expeditiously facilitate the requested administrative measures for the implementation of UNISFA’s mandate, including the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) and its re-deployment where appropriate.

Madam President,

15. We pay special tribute to the staff of UNISFA who contribute to the protection of the population in difficult conditions through the implementation of its mandate. We thank the Ethiopian contingent for their long service to people of Abyei, and we welcome the new troop contributors.

16. We call on all international partners, particularly the African Union and the United Nations, to be more robustly engaged diplomatically and politically in support of the dialogue efforts between the two countries and request continued technical support to help the parties in implementing the existing framework agreement.

19. We remain convinced that the realization of the final status of Abyei is the key to a concerted and measured withdrawal of UNISFA that will ensure the safety and security of the people. In this regard, we call on the authorities to intensify their consultations to make progress in achieving the 7 indicators.

20. In conclusion Mr./Madam President, we reiterate our full support to the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, UNISFA, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and all stakeholders for their efforts on the ground to find a political solution to the status of Abyei.

I thank you.

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