The National Congress Party (NCP) in the North and Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in South are to decide on the future of the UN peacekeeping force that was established to monitor the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum told reporters after a meeting of the political bureau that the future of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was discussed among other post-referendum arrangements that are still pending a disposition with the NCP.
On the other hand, Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti affirmed the NCP’s decision that UNMIS’s mandate will be terminated by the end of the interim period on July 9th.
Karti said that the services of UNMIS would not be needed should there be friendly ties between the North and South.
UNMIS was established in 2005 to ensure that northern and southern Sudan comply with the peace agreement they signed in the same year that ended two decades of civil war.
The South Sudan referendum, which is the final phase of the CPA, was held peacefully last month and resulted in an overwhelming vote in favor of independence.
However, issues such as the dispute over the oil-rich border region of Abyei and the lack of progress on North-South border demarcation are raising fears of possible military confrontation after July 9th.
The nearly 10,500-strong peacekeeping force intensified its patrols in Abyei after clashes between Arab Misseriya nomadic cattle-herders linked to the North and the Dinka ethnic group linked to the South.
Furthermore, clashes erupted recently between the SPLA in the South and the forces of general George Athor who has mutinied last year following his failure to win elections in Jonglei.
The UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios said following a briefing to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that the South indicated it would welcome UN engagement to consolidate peace and capacity building of for the new state.