JUBA (SUDAN TRIBUNE) — South Sudan and Sudan will resume talks over the formation of joint administration for the contested border Abyei area, the Sudan Tribune learnt on Friday.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, on March 18, agreed to foster joint cooperation in the border areas including Abyei and to encourage peaceful coexistence and share of common interests.
A high-profile presidential source told the Sudan Tribune that, al-Burhan during his recent visit to Juba proposed to President Kiir to form a joint administration in Abyei.
“This proposal, he said, is subject to further discussion within the leadership. And yes, we think this is a good proposal. We are talking to his Excellency the president to talk to the leadership to see whether a committee could be constituted to go to Khartoum and hold talks with Sudanese officials on the matter,” he said.
The senior official stressed that the formation of a joint administration brings many advantages to the border area including having a share of the oil produced in Abyei.
“The people of Abyei are not benefiting from the oil produced in their area since 2011 when the Sudanese army took control of the area”.
“So, when a joint administration is formed, the share of the oil for Abyei will be remitted and the people of Abyei will benefit from their oil. The joint administration will also provide services and provision of security in the area and protection of the local population,” he stressed.
In line with the CPA agreement which paved the way for the independence of South Sudan, the residents of the Abyei area have also to decide through a separate referendum on whether they want to remain in Sudan or to join South Sudan.
After, the clashes eruption of fighting in Abyei between the Sudanese army and the SPLA in May 2011, the Sudanese government and its peace partner the SPLM agreed on June 20, 2011, to form a joint Abyei Area Administration.
The Ngok Dinka, at the time, preferred not to form the joint administration as they are looking for a referendum to join an independent South Sudan within less than a month.
However, the disagreement on who is eligible to take part in this vote stopped the process.
The border area is the homeland of the Ngok Dinka, a tribal group with strong ethnic, cultural, and linguistic ties to the Dinka of South Sudan, and the Misseriya a northern nomadic Arab tribe who, in their majority, periodically come with their cattle to Abyei in search of water and pasture in the dry season and to trade goods.