UNISFA brokers peace accord between Abyei communities
In a major breakthrough, the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka traditional leaders have signed a peace accord reiterating their commitment to achieving lasting peace in Abyei Area, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said in a statement on Friday.
According to UNISFA, the leaders committed to advocating for inter-community dialogue to promote the protection of women and children as well as livestock and property. They also pledged to be the tool for fostering peace between the two communities and to meet regularly in the quest for peace.
The four-point communique was signed by the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, Bulabek Deng Kuol, and the leader of the Misseriya delegation, El Sadig Hireka Izzral Din, at the end of a three-day Joint Traditional Leader’ Peace Conference in Entebbe, Uganda.
“The leaders pledged to support the initiatives at the government level towards resolving the Abyei issue. Representatives of the United Nations Agencies, Funds, and Programmes as well as international NGOs were represented at the meeting,” the statement read. “President Yoweri Museveni and the government sent a congratulatory message to the meeting which was graced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda.”
The Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, pledged to continue engaging the key players to find a solution to the final status of Abyei.
“This meeting, and others with the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, are an opportunity to try and give momentum to the final resolution of the Abyei issue,” She said, stressing, “the peace process does not just depend on us, given the deep-seated political differences which have existed before now, the conflict will only be resolved if there is political will at the national level and willingness to compromise at the community level. It will not be an easy journey, but it can be achieved.”
In his closing remarks, UNISFA Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, pledged to work with the government of Sudan and South Sudan to find solutions to the continuous issues which were not resolved during the conference.
“UNISFA will continue to ensure peace in Abyei box while protecting the communities. We will continue to engage the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on issues raised at this meeting.” Gen. Sawyer said.
The Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, Bulabek Deng Kuol, and the leader of the Misseriya delegation, El Sadig Hireka Izzral Din, called on UNISFA to fully implement its mandate and protect civilians in Abyei.
They urged UNISFA to facilitate continuous dialogue between the two communities so that they can find a sustainable solution to the Abyei issue and full implementation of the UNISFA mandate to protect civilians in the area
The long-awaited conference, which was convened by UNISFA, provided a platform for the leaders to engage in frank discussions to unravel the root causes of the long-standing conflict between the two communities, the statement concluded.