Speaking on the margins of the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting today (23 May) in Brussels, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle commented as follows on the situation in the Sudanese city of Abyei:
“I am gravely concerned by the escalation of the situation in Abyei. The occupation of the city by the Northern Sudanese army this weekend may jeopardize the entire peace process leading to independence for Southern Sudan.
I appeal to the Khartoum Government to withdraw their forces immediately from Abyei and the surrounding area.
Both sides are urgently called upon to comply with the accords reached in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to refrain from anything that could trigger an escalation of the violence.
Germany continues to support the African Union and its chief mediator Thabo Mbeki in the quest for a peaceful solution also for Abyei.”
Following growing tensions in the Abyei border region, which is claimed by both Northern and Southern Sudan, Northern Sudanese soldiers brought the area under their control on 21 May. The Federal Foreign Office understands that many of the city’s 20,000 inhabitants have fled.