Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sudan: What Sudan Says About Abyei

SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

The measures taken by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Abyei are the result of a number of provocations made by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) which began with the deployment of the additional forces that entered the Abyei area on December 2010, a move that was in clear violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Abyei Protocol. All appeals to the SPLM to have it remove these forces failed. The Kadugali Agreement inked on January 17th this year was yet another attempt to mitigate tensions and establish a joint force made up of troops from both sides to ensure security in the area.

It is entirely the failure of the SPLM's leadership to abide by the agreements, and its refusal to withdraw its troops that has pushed the national army to finally take action. Last Thursday's heinous attack on the SAF was the logical consequence of the SPLM's lack of seriousness, and the kind of incident long feared would unfold as a result. The presence of those additional forces was a grave threat to the security of Abyei as marked by not only this latest attack, but also the rampant kidnappings and killings of innocent civilians the world witnessed recently. The National army, as part of its responsibility, is therefore compelled to intervene and protect its people and the land.

It is baffling that certain countries that send their soldiers all over the world to defend their perceived national interests would condemn our army today, the victim of an unprovoked attack that left scores dead, and ironically being casted as an "occupying force"; criticized for responding now in a decisive manner to ensure the security that has lacked all this time! This exposes a degree of ignorance because reality has it that Abyei is part of Sudan and remains a Northern territory until its inhabitants decide otherwise. Therefore it is well within the role and duties of the national army to eliminate any threat to peace in the area.

Furthermore, the perpetrators, as insinuated by the SPLM itself, are outlawed elements that have been marauding in the area for six months. Yet no condemnation of their atrocities was ever issued from those who now demand a pull-out of the National Army from the area. Those condemning these measures are misguided because it is the mandate of the Army to purge the region of such threats, and it is doing so with the utmost professionalism and in full compliance with the Kadugali Agreement, the Abyei Protocol and the CPA itself which stipulates that the force can redeploy up to Bahr el Arab. For those who are saying that this jeopardizes normalization of relations, it is important to note that Sudan is keen on having the best of relations with all members of the international community based on fairness and mutual respect. At the same time, preserving peace and the integrity of the country should be an exceeding priority, else, there will not be a country to "normalize" relations with if chaos prevails.