Business, Economics and Jobs

Abyei peace plans proposed


Peacekeepers on patrol in Abyei where a clutch of proposals have been made all seeking to defuse the ongoing crisis.


Stuart Price/UNMIS

Desperate and contradictory moves are underway to secure peace in the disputed Sudanese region of Abyei, occupied by northern forces for the last 10-days.

One plan involves establishing a demilitarized buffer zone 12.5 miles wide the entire 1,240 miles length of the shared north-south border.

This proposal is backed by the African Union which said in a statement: "The agreement... establishes a Common Border Zone between North and South Sudan, which is to be demilitarized and jointly monitored and patrolled.”

Oddly, the statement made no specific mention of Abyei, the key border flashpoint.

A second proposal, this time coming from Khartoum, talks of a rotating administration of Abyei shared by north and south with the northern army remaining in control until a much-delayed referendum is held on whether Abyei will go to the north or south.

The fact that Khartoum’s plan was announced the day after the African Union suggests a lack of buy-in to the idea of a border-long demilitarized zone.

A third proposal is for thousands of Ethiopian troops to come into Abyei as a peacekeeping force. Ethiopia says it is keen and that the south has agreed but there has been no response as yet from the north.