KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 28 (UPI) -- Sudan won't recognize its southern neighbor's independence if it lays claim to the oil-producing region of Abyei, the Sudanese president said Thursday.
A comprehensive peace agreement reached in 2005 gave South Sudan the right to vote to form an independent state. Voters in January backed a referendum for independence, though the de facto region of Abyei was left out of the process because of voter issues.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir broke earlier promises Thursday by saying he wouldn't recognize South Sudan's independence in July if Abyei broke away from the north.
"If there is any attempt to secede Abyei within the borders of the new state we will not recognize the new state," he was quoted by al-Arabiya as saying.
Atul Khare, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told the U.N. Security Council last week that progress was slow on implementing key provisions of the 2005 comprehensive peace deal.
He said the situation in the disputed region of Abyei and internal tensions in the south were getting in the way of broad reconciliation.
The Security Council agreed to extend the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping mission until South Sudan's proposed independence day July 9.