UNISFA Force Commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr. (File photo)

UNISFA salutes South Sudan, Sudan commitment to fully implement Cooperation Agreement

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has welcomed the decisions reached during the ordinary session of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) meeting of 18 January 2023 and said it is encouraged by the parties’ unwavering commitment to the full implementation of the Cooperation Agreements and the Agreement on Security Arrangements signed by Sudan and South Sudan in 2012.

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has welcomed the decisions reached during the ordinary session of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) meeting of 18 January 2023 and said it is encouraged by the parties’ unwavering commitment to the full implementation of the Cooperation Agreements and the Agreement on Security Arrangements signed by Sudan and South Sudan in 2012.

According to a UNISFA statement, the meeting, which was held in Juba, was co-chaired by the Sudanese Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Yassin Ibrahim Yassin, and the South Sudan Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Hon. Angelina Teny. Their delegations included ministers and high-level representatives of security institutions.

“The collective vision of the parties was to operationalize the commitments made by President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan and Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan during their meeting in Juba on 12 January 2023, which focused on the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries,” the statement said.

The UNISFA delegation, led by the Deputy Force Commander Brig. Gen. Abu Syed Mohammod Bakir highlighted the challenging security situation in Abyei and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and the need for concerted efforts to enhance the protection of civilians.

“UNISFA also underscored several issues, including the need to operationalize the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) Sector 1 (Gok Machar), the deployment of national monitors at Abu Qussa, and the redeployment of government forces from Abyei and the SDBZ and freedom of movement challenges,” the statement read. “Other matters discussed included support for the commencement of intercommunal talks, including the seasonal peace conference, and the resumption of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee meetings.”

The parties welcomed the report presented by UNISFA and JBVMM, adopted its recommendations, and directed the Chief of Defence Forces of the Republic of South Sudan and the Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces to inter alia form a committee to monitor the implementation of the resolution of the JPSM regarding the redeployment of own forces outside of the SDBZ.

“The parties further requested the ministries of Interior to resume preparations for the reopening of the border crossing corridors at Kost-Renk (river) and directed the JPSM Secretariat to develop a strategy to sensitize authorities and communities along the common border including in Gok Machar on the 2012 Cooperation Agreements and Temporary Arrangements,” the statement said.

In separate meetings with UNMISS SRSG Nicholas Haysom and Force Commander Lt. Gen. Mohan Subramanian, the UNISFA delegation discussed various security issues, as well as the peace process and modalities to enhance intermission cooperation.