By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
June 26, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) - An Ethiopia military official said that necessary military logistical preparations is being finalised for a peacekeeping force to be deployed to Sudan’s disputed region of Abyei.
Earlier this week, under the broker of the African Union, leaders from North and South Sudan signed Addis Ababa agreement to fully demilitarise the central region of Abyei and allow an Ethiopian peacekeeping force to move in to monitor the North-South frontier.
The United States on Thursday said that it has put forward a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council for the deployment of 4,200 Ethiopian troops to Abyei. Ethiopian officials said that they are only waiting for UN to approve the deployment and are making all preparations before their forces depart.
“Among others our mandate in the Abyei region will be to protect civilians, maintain buffer zone and also to crate peaceful environment that will allow to conduct referendum on Abyei’’ Logistics affairs head under the ministry of defence Major General Gezahegn Abera said speaking on state television on Sunday.
“We are only days away from deploying our peace force to the region and we are doing every logistical preparation which will enable us to successfully accomplish our mission to Abyei.”
"Ethiopia forces are well competent to be deployed with in days up on urgent calls’’ the military official said referring to the country’s long experience whose forces had deployed in south Korea, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia and currently under mission in Sudan.
Last month, North Sudan forces invaded the Abyei region launching military attacks. The violence has forced thousands of people to flee the area and raise tensions of a possible North-South return to war.
The Ethiopian military official called on both North and South Sudan parties to play their own positive role by immediately withdrawing their troops from the contested oil producing region of Abyei.
South Sudan will officially be an independent state on 9 July but the latest worsening security situation has become worrying. Addis Ababa which is seen as honest broker by both North and South Sudan doesn’t want another bloodshed in Sudan.
“Any instability in Sudan will certainly affect Ethiopia and the region as a whole and Ethiopia will remain devoted to maintain lasting peace in Sudan’’ Major General Gezahegn Abera further said.
North and South Sudan fought for over two decades in a civil war that killed some 2 million people. In 2005 the two sides signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that granted South the right to hold a self-determination vote.
The referendum on South Sudan was overwhelmingly in favour of secession however there are pending issues like demarcation of the border and sharing of oil wealth and others that remain to be a main concern between North and South Sudan.