What's In Blue

Posted Wed 5 Oct 2011

Council Briefing and Consultations on Abyei

Council members are scheduled to have a briefing and consultations on Abyei tomorrow (6 October). It seems that Hervé Ladsous, the new head of DPKO, is likely to brief the Council on the Secretary-General’s recent report on the situation in Abyei. Council members are also likely to be particularly interested in receiving more information and on why neither Sudan nor South Sudan has withdrawn its troops from the border by 30 September as previously agreed.

It is likely that a key focus during the discussion will be the details of the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei’s (UNISFA) support to a border-monitoring mechanism. UNISFA’s mandate will need to be amended for a monitoring mission to deploy and it appears that a draft resolution adding such a support role may be circulated in the near future. However, it is unclear how quickly Council members would move on such a resolution.

There appears to be broad support among Council members for adding a border monitoring support role to UNISFA. However, there is concern among some Council members about the tenuous security situation in Abyei, especially considering that both Sudan and South Sudan still have troops in the region and there seems to be a preference to not rush a decision on adjusting UNISFA’s mandate.

The Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Abyei proposes that UNISFA’s mandate be altered to support the governments of Sudan and South Sudan in establishing a joint border monitoring mechanism. In particular, the report notes that UNISFA could help assess observance along the border, serve as a liaison between the parties, assist in building trust between them, and help build their capacity to monitor the border. However, the report also indicates that the success of UNISFA and the full deployment of the mission are largely dependent on an improved security environment, including the withdrawal from Abyei of troops from Sudan and South Sudan.

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