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11/14/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/14/2019 15:22

Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Interim Force for Abyei until Mid-May, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2497 (2019)

The Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until 15 May 2020, specifying 'measurable progress' in border issues needed from Sudan and South Sudan before that date.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2497 (2019), the Council also demanded that the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan provide full support to UNISFA in the deployment of its personnel, expressing disappointment about continued obstruction from the parties in that regard.

The Council maintained the current troop ceiling, however, at 3,550 personnel, deciding to postpone the withdrawal of the additional 295 troops currently on the ground for the full term of the mandate extension.

Also through the text, the Council maintained the authorized police ceiling at 640 personnel. Expressing concern about delays in reaching full police deployment, it noted in particular that the Government of Sudan has not promptly issued visas.

The Council also decided to extend until 15 May 2020 UNISFA's mandate modification that provides support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, adding this shall be the final such extension unless the parties show measurable progress in border discussions, freedom of movement for patrols, withdrawal of forces and other requirements.

The Council, through the text, also reiterated its request to the Secretary‑General to appoint a civilian Deputy Head of Mission for UNISFA, requesting a report by 15 April 2020 to include progress on that issue, police deployment and the issuance of visas, as well as progress toward stabilizing the area and settling the border dispute.

Following the adoption, Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) welcomed the consensus action, recognizing the stabilizing role of UNISFA in the border area. He urged Sudan and South Sudan to provide full support to the Mission. Noting the serious support challenges faced by the Mission, which is deployed in a remote area, he regretted that the concerns of troop-contributing countries, which his country is one of the largest, were not included in the Mission.

Michael Barkin (United States), also welcoming the adoption, thanked Ethiopia for its support to the Mission. He condemned attacks in the Abyei area and concurred with the need for a strengthened police component, reduced constraints and resolution of outstanding issues. He called on the parties to cooperate and make progress toward a final settlement of the Abyei issue, and on the Council to keep pressing for such progress.

Omer Mohamed Ahmed Siddig (Sudan) thanked the Council for its consensus on the extension of UNIFSA's mandate and renewed the commitment of his country to cooperate with the Mission to implement its mandate. He also renewed the country's commitment to maintain peace in Abyei and establish the common mechanisms that would lead to an agreement on the final status of the area.

The temporary arrangements of 2011, he stated, are the basis of all progress on Abyei and they must remain in force until the final status is determined. It was agreed that no amendment shall be made to those arrangements without the approval of the two parties as well as Ethiopia, the troop contributor. His country, he pledged, will continue to cooperate with all relevant parties in that light. He called on the Council to establish the three entities called for in the agreement as the only way to secure stability and a final resolution. He thanked the Council for taking his country's views into consideration, thanking as well all those that are supporting a peaceful resolution in Abyei.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 3:16 p.m.