Bashir vows to work with S Sudan on Abyei

2013-10-28 14:26
Young men check their names against the voting registration list in an abandoned school used as a polling centre in the disputed border region of Abyei, whose ownership is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin, AP)

Young men check their names against the voting registration list in an abandoned school used as a polling centre in the disputed border region of Abyei, whose ownership is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. (Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin, AP)

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Khartoum - Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir on Monday pledged to work with his South Sudanese counterpart to settle the future of the contested Abyei region, where residents were holding an unofficial referendum.

"I will continue with my brother Salva Kiir... to reach a solution for Abyei that can bring satisfaction to the local communities there," Bashir said in a speech opening a new session of parliament.

He did not refer to the voting underway Monday by members of Abyei's Ngok Dinka tribe, which is closely connected with South Sudan and whose members are settled in Abyei.

The Arab Misseriya tribe, who traditionally move back and forth from Sudan grazing their cattle, have rejected the one-sided ballot which is not sanctioned by the South Sudanese government.

"What happens in this referendum is none of our business. We don't care about it," the top Misseriya chief, Mukhtar Babo Nimir, told AFP.

Last week, he said the Misseriya might hold their own ballot if the Ngok Dinka went ahead, although he added that the tribe would not act without consulting the Khartoum government.

In his speech, Bashir said he and Kiir had agreed at a summit last week to form an Abyei police force and local administration.

They had already pledged in September to quickly build that administration, which has been delayed for more than two years since both sides first agreed to it.

Read more on:    omar al-bashir  |  salva kiir  |  sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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