- Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei on 14 August 2016 (UNISFA photo)
October 17, 2021 (ABYEI) – The United Nations Security Council has raised concerns over the operating conditions of peacekeeping forces in Abyei region.
In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday, the Security Council members expressed grave concerns over recent developments in Gok Machar, South Sudan, including threats to the safety and security of peacekeepers which resulted in the death of a peacekeeper from Ethiopia on September 14, 2021.
The Security Council members, in the statement, also reiterated their full support for the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and expressed their continued concern that the full implementation of UNISFA’s mandate is being obstructed.
The members urged South Sudan government to facilitate the unimpeded implementation of UNISFA’s mandate and provide full support to UNISFA’s personnel by removing any obstacles that hinder UNISFA’s work to protect civilians, including by ensuring the mission’s freedom of movement and by facilitating UNISFA’s provision of food, medicine, among others to its personnel.
The council members underscored the important role of UNISFA and the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) in support of achieving peace, security and stability in Abyei and the broader region, and urged the government of South Sudan to intensify its mediation efforts with members of the local community in Gok Machar to reduce tensions and to provide for the redeployment of UNISFA personnel to team sites 11 and 12.
Meanwhile, the members of the Security Council welcomed the continued cooperation between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, which is critical for the peace, security, and stability in Abyei and the broader region.
The further called on Sudan and South Sudan to convene a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism to address the existing challenges and facilitate the work of the JBVMM.
UNISFA was established in 2011 by the UN Security Council to monitor Abyei border. It is mainly composed of Ethiopian forces of around 4,200 troops and 50 police personnel.