Explanation of Vote on the Adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution on UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA)

Michael Barkin
Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 14, 2019


Thank you, Madame President.

While Sudan and South Sudan have important political transitions of their own to navigate, the situation in Abyei and along the border between the two countries must not be forgotten. With that in mind, the United States thanks Council members for their efforts to ensure the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei can provide security in the Abyei Area and support the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.

A special word of thanks is due to Ethiopia for its troop contributions to UNISFA. Without Ethiopia’s efforts in Abyei, it would not be possible to maintain a stable security situation. Creating temporary security and administrative arrangements for Abyei, resolving its final status, and reaching agreement on border disputes are critical to supporting long-term peace efforts in both South Sudan and Sudan.

But more than that, the people of Abyei deserve to live in peace, without fear of attacks like the ones that killed 9 civilians in early November. The United States condemns this unacceptable violence. It is a sobering reminder of UNISFA’s critical role in protecting civilians and stabilizing the area.

With this renewed mandate, the Security Council reiterates its position that UNISFA is best equipped to ensure security for Abyei through the deployment of police forces; a strengthened civilian component; and the easing of logistical constraints on the mission by both South Sudan and Sudan. We also encourage the African Union to revive its mediation efforts, which will help accelerate the resolution of outstanding political issues.

We commit to work closely with the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to implement this renewed mandate, and we call for their cooperation as we support their negotiations on issues related to Abyei and the border.

Finally, we call on Security Council members to increase bilateral efforts encouraging South Sudan, Sudan and the African Union to maintain momentum on Abyei, as well as to resolve outstanding border issues. In doing so, the Council can demonstrate its commitment to the region and – most importantly – to the people living in and migrating through Abyei in the hopes that they might find peace, security, and dignity.

Thank you.