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US envoy to Sudan calls the situation in Abyei 'very worrisome'

JUBA, Southern Sudan (NSV) - US special envoy to Sudan issued stern warnings to both the north and the south on Saturday, describing the situation in Abyei as "very tense" and "worrisome." 

Gareth_Penny_and_Princeton_Lyman_at_the_Council_on_Foreign_Relations_in_Washington

Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who was recently appointed by President Obama to replace Gen. Scott Gration, said the north and the south are bringing heavy military equipment to Abyei, a gesture he said to be in total violation of the recent security arragements that called for withdrawal of all troops from the volatile , oil rich area.

Mr. Lyman said both sides are bringing in military equipment to the area at a time when everthing seems to be uncertain around that disputed region.

"The danger is that a confrontation in a place like Abyei could get out of hand," he said. "And that could lead them to wholesale war with very serious consequences."

Abyei has long been a source of contention for the north and the south. Its status is well addressed in the CPA as conditional on the Ngok Dinka who are supposed to vote on whether to keep it in the north or make it part of the south.

But when the talks around the issue stalemated in the run up to the referendum as the north and the Arab Misseriya tribe began to stake some claim to the area, the fate was left  to the presidency to find a situable politcal solution. 

Abyei came to be where it is politically because of the decision that transfered the 9 Dinka Ngok chiefdoms to the north in 1905.

It was why the judges under arbitral tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague made their decision in July 2009 to award Abyei to Southern Sudan.

Mr. Lyman met both Kiir and Bashir in Ethiopia after attending a meeting on Southern Sudan's transition to nationhood.

He said both leaders have pledged to not take both sides to war. Mr.Lyman said resolving the issue of Abyei will be his number one priority.


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