The United States commends the swift passage of UN Security Council resolution 1990, which approves the mandate requested by Sudanese leaders to facilitate the deployment of up to 4200 Ethiopian peacekeepers to the Abyei region of Sudan.
Abyei has been a source of regional tension for many years, as the world witnessed last month when Sudanese Armed Forces forcibly took control of the region, resulting in widespread displacement and looting.
The approval of this force is a critical step in implementing the June 20 agreement signed by the parties, whereby the Sudanese Armed Forces will withdraw from the Abyei area along with any Sudan People's Liberation Army forces there. An Ethiopian brigade will deploy as the United Nations Interim Security Force to enforce this withdrawal and maintain security throughout the Abyei region.
We urge the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement to make good on their commitments to withdraw forces from Abyei and use the talks facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to reach mutual agreement on the future status of Abyei.
While the United States welcomes this Security Council resolution regarding Abyei, we remain deeply concerned about the on-going crisis in Southern Kordofan. Tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes, and there are reports of very serious human rights abuses and violence targeting individuals based on their ethnicity and political affiliation. Also of concern is the troubling detention of Sudanese local staff members of the UN Mission in Sudan by Sudanese authorities last week as they were being evacuated from the airport in Kadugli. While two staff members have been released, five remain in the custody of Sudanese military officials. We call on the Sudanese Government to release them immediately and cease any harassment and intimidation of UN personnel in Southern Kordofan. We urge the parties to reach an immediate ceasefire and to provide aid workers with the unfettered access required to deliver humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by the conflict.