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UN confirms Sudan troop withdrawal from Abyei

Sudanese troops withdrew from the disputed border region of Abyei on Tuesday, a United Nations spokesperson confirmed. South Sudan forces had already withdrawn. The announcement came amidst negotiations between the rival nations in Addis Ababa.


AFP - Sudanese troops on Tuesday withdrew from the disputed territory of Abyei, a UN spokesman told AFP.

Rival South Sudan had already pulled its security forces out of Abyei in line with a UN Security Council demand for both sides to demilitarize the territory.

"The UN peacekeeping mission in Abyei, UNISFA, has confirmed that the withdrawal of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) from the Abyei area was completed today late in the evening," said UN peacekeeping spokesman Kieran Dwyer.

Abyei is one of the key disputes between Sudan and South Sudan, which have been fighting each other along their uncharted border.

Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the Khartoum government, reported earlier that Sudan's forces had withdrawn from Abyei which they had overrun in May last year.

"They gave the military compound there to UN peacekeepers," said SMC. Diplomatic sources said the pullout involved about 300 troops.

The withdrawal came as top negotiators for Sudan and South Sudan met in Addis Ababa for their first talks since the two countries came to the brink of war in April.

After fighting along the disputed border in March and April, the Security Council demanded the two sides cease hostilities and resume peace talks.

South Sudan pulled its police force out of Abyei before the Security Council's May 16 deadline.

Abyei was one of a series of key issues – including their common border, the sharing of oil revenues and citizenship – that were left undecided when the two split last year.

Sudan and South Sudan fought a two decade civil war up to 2005 that left more than two million dead.


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