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Youth launch campaign to push for final settlement of Abyei status 

By Awan Achiek & Agencies

South Sudanese youth have launched national initiative campaign to advocate for settlement of the final status of the oil-rich region of Abyei.

Hakim Alies, Chairperson for National Initiative for Supporting the Ultimate Solution for Abyei Status said during the launch on Monday in Juba that they are advocating for the return of Abyei to South Sudan.

Alies called on the South Sudanese people to focus on finding ultimate solution to the disputed region with neighboring Sudan.

He disclosed that the solution partly lay in raising public awareness on the issue. 

The campaign will include raising awareness through art, poetry, theatre, music, rallies and seminars, media talk-shows and cultural festivals.

“This aimed to generate awareness toward the necessity of Abyei issue, defy violence and spread spirit of unity and brotherhood as well as peaceful cohesion among South Sudanese,” said Alies.

He said they will support efforts and final decision that will come from special committees that held meeting recently in Sudan. 

A week-long meeting by two committees in Khartoum last week came up with an interim report that will form the basis of the final status of Abyei, a region that has remained undetermined for 17 years since the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The committees led by Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, and South Sudan’s security advisor, Tut Gatluak Manime, agreed on seven areas that will determine the issue Abyei, whose uncertain status resulted in years of conflict between the Ngok Dinka of South Sudan and Misseriya of Sudan.

According to Dafallah Al Hajj Ali, the Undersecretary in Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides will initially provide citizen services to the people, form a team to provide humanitarian aid and work on a long-term solution through dialogue.

Abyei covers 4,000 square miles of desert, farmland, and oil fields located along the ill-defined border between Sudan and South Sudan.

Abyei has been a contested area since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

Under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the 22-year civil war, Abyei was granted special status, and a joint administration was set up in 2008 to run the area until the referendum decided its fate.

But both Sudan and South Sudan failed to determine who is eligible to take part in the vote. 

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