ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
The decision will make majority of Ethiopian peacekeepers, who are on the ground to support UNISFA’s efforts of security, stay in Abyei at least until Nov. 15, 2019.
The Security Council, however, decided to decrease their number from the current 4, 500 troops to 3,550 troops.
It also decided for the number of authorized police ceiling increased to 640 personnel, including 148 individual police officers.
Increasing the number of police will help to address crime and other local challenges, said Jonathan R. Cohen, a U.S. envoy, after the adoption of resolution 2469.
Cohen encouraged all parties concerned to resolve their differences and engage constructively in monitoring mechanisms and African Union initiatives.
Chinese envoy Yao Shaojun also said the relatively calm situation in Abyei reflects the cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan.
He also stressed that the international community “must support its efforts and refrain from imposing solutions”.
Instead, it must foster initiatives based on dialogue, he added.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in an acrimonious split following a 2011 referendum.
The two nations have disputes over several issues including the status of disputed oil-rich Abyei area and South Sudan’s alleged support to Sudanese rebels.
The Security Council first modified the UNISFA mandate in December 2011 to add tasks of supporting a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism of Sudan and South Sudan.