U.N. worried by Sudan's Abyei region

May 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

UNITED NATIONS, May 12 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council expressed deep concern over the security in Sudan's de facto border region of Abyei after four peacekeepers were assaulted.

Abyei lies along the de facto border between Sudan and the future South Sudan, which gains formal independence in July.

Four Zambian members of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sudan were shot and wounded near the area while on routine patrol earlier this week. The U.N. mission in Sudan said the attack came from unknown assailants.

The Security Council condemned the attack, adding recent skirmishes in the region were in direct violation of a comprehensive peace deal signed in 2005.

The peace deal ended a brutal civil war in Sudan and gave the south the right to choose to form an independent state. Voters in January backed the measure, though Abyei was left out of the process because of voter eligibility issues.

Member states welcomed an agreement by both sides to recommit to a series of agreements on the departure of unsanctioned forces in Abyei in exchange for a joint police force.

"The members of the Security Council urge both parties to honor these commitments, to avoid escalation, and to seek a peaceful negotiated solution to the status of Abyei," a statement from the Security Council said.

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