July 1, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – Ethiopia said the withdrawal of its troops from the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), requires the agreement of the two parties to the temporary security arrangements agreement in the disputed area.
Following the deterioration of bilateral relations between Sudan and Ethiopia over the Al-Fashaga border strip, Sudan requested the United Nations to replace the Ethiopian soldiers.
On 28 June, Graham Maitland, UN Director for Eastern African Division of the Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs and Operations discussed the matter with Demeke Mekonnen Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
“Demeke said Ethiopia’s force members are paying sacrifices to prevent war, and their exit, if necessary, has to be with the consent of stakeholders and in a dignified manner,” reads a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Addis Ababa.
After the signing of an agreement on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei area on 20 June 2011, the Sudanese government and the then ruling party in semi-autonomous southern Sudan SPLM requested the UN Security Council to deploy Ethiopian forces in Abyei to assist in the implementation of the agreement.
In line with the peace agreement of 9 January 2005 between Sudan and the SPLM, the residents of Abyei would take part in a referendum to remain in Sudan or join independent South Sudan.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement further provides that Abyei remains under sovereignty until the organization of the self-determination vote.
The SPLM-led government in South Sudan did not issue a statement on Sudan’s request to replace the Ethiopian troops in Abyei.
Mekonnen, also, discussed with Maitland the advertisement made about the defection of troops from the troubled Tigray region in the Ethiopian peacekeeping contingents in South Sudan and Sudan.
“The Deputy Prime Minister also questioned the morality of some UN agencies in politicizing and unnecessarily echoing the cases of some Ethiopian soldiers who dramatize their defect from their unit just to get acceptance to their asylum quests,” said the statement.
The defectors said they fear for their life after reports about summary executions of Tigrayian troops in the army.