Sudan says no Abyei vote without Misseriya
DOHA — Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has insisted the problem of
Abyei cannot be solved without the Arab Misseriya nomads participating
in a referendum on the status of the disputed border region.
are saying, loud and clear, that there will be no referendum on Abyei
without the Misseriya," Bashir said in Doha late on Wednesday.
Abyei protocol states clearly that the inhabitants of the region, the
Ngok Dinka and the other citizens, have the right to participate in the
"We refuse this division between first and second
class citizens, between settled and nomadic. They are all Sudanese and
they have the same rights," the Sudanese leader added.
flashpoint area, where clashes killed at least 70 people earlier this
month, was due to hold a referendum in January on whether to join north
or south Sudan, to coincide with the plebiscite on southern
Southerners opted overwhelmingly for succession, but
the Abyei vote was postponed indefinitely, with the ruling parties in
Khartoum and Juba at loggerheads over whether the Misseriya should be
eligible to participate.
The heavily armed Arab cattle-herding
tribe were a key proxy militia of Khartoum?s army during the 1983-2005
civil war against southern rebels.
They have traditionally moved
their animals through the fertile Abyei district each year, to access
water and graze the land farmed by the Ngok Dinka, their bitter war-time
enemies who support the south.
Despite repeated southern
assurances that those centuries-old grazing rights will be respected
should Abyei vote to join the south, many Misseriya remain fearful their
route will be blocked by a new international frontier.
future is the most sensitive of a raft of issues the governments of
north and south have been trying to resolve ahead of southern
independence in July, which include borders, citizenship, security and
The Sudanese president flew to Doha for talks with the emir,
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, on the foundering Darfur peace
process, which is being mediated in the Qatari capital.
Bashir again accused Darfur rebel groups of fighting alongside the forces of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
have given weapons to our brothers in Libya, who are part of the Darfur
rebel groups, they are (fighting) side by side," he said on Wednesday.
Justice and Equality Movement, the most heavily-armed rebel group, and
one of just two taking part in peace process, said on Tuesday that
Khartoum's planned referendum on how the Darfur region should be
governed would torpedo the Doha talks.