U.N. welcomes deal on Sudan's Abyei region

June 20, 2011 at 1:38 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, June 20 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed a bilateral agreement reached Monday by the governments in Sudan over the disputed Abyei region.

Soldiers from Sudan took control of Abyei last month after accusing fighters from the south of attacking its troops there.

Four peacekeepers were wounded near Abyei in May by unknown assailants. The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack, adding recent skirmishes in the region were in violation of a comprehensive peace deal signed in 2005.

That agreement ended a 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.

Ban, in a statement issued through his spokesman, praised a deal brokered with the help of the Ethiopian government.

"The secretary-general calls on the parties to abide in full by its provisions to demilitarize the area and establish an administration and police service and to provide their full cooperation to the United Nations and government of Ethiopia in deploying peacekeeping troops and police to the area," the statement read.

Ethiopia hosted high-level talks last week aimed at ending the conflict before South Sudan's independence next month.

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