(No. 110 - March 18, 2011 - 6:35 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing concern over the renewed violence and lack of progress on the negotiations regarding the status of Abyei, Sudan:
"Canada is gravely concerned about the rising tension and violence in the disputed Sudanese border area of Abyei, where recent clashes have resulted in more than 100 deaths and caused the displacement of 20,000 people.
"Reports of increasing militarization and violence in Abyei pose a distinct threat to stability in Sudan, despite Northern and Southern Sudan having worked together to hold a peaceful and credible referendum on South Sudan’s self-determination in January 2011.
"Canada urges all sides to refrain from further violence and to allow the free movement of UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) peacekeepers in the area. Canada also calls on both the North and the South to adhere to the commitments they have made in several accords relating to Abyei, especially the provisions of the recent Kadugli Agreement.
"In particular, Canada urges both sides to reduce the number of regular and irregular armed personnel in the contested area. The parties must redouble their efforts to negotiate a solution to Abyei’s future status that respects the legitimate interests and needs of local stakeholders. Progress on Abyei is especially important in the context of ongoing negotiations in preparation for South Sudan’s independence on July 9, 2011."
Sudan is one of Canada’s foreign-policy priorities. Canada has contributed over $800 million for peace, humanitarian assistance, development aid, security and peacebuilding in Sudan since 2006.
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