May 30, 2008 (ST)
The Sudanese president disclosed that his dominant party the National Congress Party (NCP) presented a proposal to form a joint administration for the disputed Abyei.
Speaking in a news conference on the sideline of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) today President Omer al-Bashir said his first deputy and southern Sudan president Salva Kiir discusses the NCP proposition with the second deputy Ali Osman Taha.
However he didn’t elaborate on the details of the proposition.
According to the Abyei Protocol, the Sudanese presidency before the elections has to appoint a local administration – Executive Council – representative of all the residents of the disputed area.
But due to the failure of the CPA parties to demarcate the border of Abyei, the signatories agreed to charge a commission of five members of each party with five independent international experts to define this border.
The mandate of the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) was to define and demarcate the territory of the Ngok Dinka as it was when transferred from the South to the North in 1905.
Nonetheless the rejection of the ABC conclusions by the NCP delayed the formation of this administration. The northern Sudan ruling party rejects the ABC report because it attributes a territory northern to Bahr al-Arab (Kiir river) to the Ngok Dinka.
Al-Bashir told the press in Tokyo that the commission failed to define the border of the disputed area. He added that the report of the experts speaks about the Dinka’s settlement in the area in 1965.
"And this way the government rejected the report and Abyei become a pending issue” al-Bashir said.
However the experts indicate in their report that their mandate was limited to define the nine Ngok chiefdoms and not to define 1905 boundary. They also stated that "a 1905 map showing the Ngok territory does not exist. Nor do the historical records of the then government definitively attest to the Ngok boundaries at that time."
They further say the Misseriya made no claim to ownership of the disputed Abyei until 1965 and that these claims were rejected in 1966 at an inter-tribal meeting composed entirely of Sudanese, and presided over by the Nazir of the neighbouring Hamar.
Heavy fighting erupted in the last two weeks in the oil rich contested area of Abyei between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), resulting into hundreds of civilian casualties, destruction of the whole town and displacement of up to 90,000 people.
In a press statement issued last Tuesday in Khartoum, the SPLM First Deputy Chairperson and Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Riek Machar Teny, said the SPLM committee he chaired presented practical proposals to the NCP’s component of the Joint Executive Political Committee to resolve the crisis.
He added that the Specialized Committee on Abyei must report back within the next 72 hours with recommendations to the Committee he co-chaired with the Deputy Chairperson of the National Congress Party and Vice President of Sudan, Ali Osman Taha, on how to resolve the crisis practically on the ground.
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