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Sudan: South Sudan

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Conservative, West Worcestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping in the disputed Abyei region on the Sudan-South Sudan border.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK commends the vital role that the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) plays in the protection of civilians and assisting to bring stability to the region. However, we remain concerned that a final agreement on the situation in Abyei has not been reached and by ongoing impediments which prevent UN peacekeepers from fully implementing their mandate. The UN Security Council made clear in a press statement of 29 January that the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan must provide their full support to UNISFA, including by removing any obstacles that hinder UNIFSA’s work to protect civilians.

We are also concerned by increasing intercommunal tensions and by the attack on Kolom in Abyei on Wednesday 22 January. We offer sympathies to all those affected. We welcome the commitment of the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to de-escalate tensions and jointly investigate and urge any investigation to be conducted swiftly and transparently. Our Minister of State for the Commonwealth, UN and South Asia reinforced this message with the Sudanese Ambassador on 28 January. We will also raise in New York the reports of UN peacekeepers’ failure to act in order to establish the facts of this tragic incident.

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