Sudan and South Sudan have failed to strike a deal on the composition of an interim administration for the contested oil-rich Abyei region, an official said Monday.
South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum Okiech said Sudan had in the latest round of talks in Addis Ababa over the weekend made new demands on the nominees to the Abyei Legislative Council in contradiction of previous agreements.
Sudan’s ruling party was to initially front nominees for 40% (eight) of the seats of the 20-member assembly, while South Sudan was to nominate members for the remaining 60%.
Of the eight, Sudan was to front four Dinga Ngok members—who are the original inhabitants of Abyei—while four would come from the Misseriya tribe that grazes its cattle in the area during the dry season.
Under this model, 16 members of the council would be from the Dinka Ngok.
But during the talks, Mr Pagan said Sudan raised its representation to 50 per cent, without guaranteeing that the Dinka could still hold their four seats.
"Sudan has presented different conditions from those we agree upon. So the talks have ended without agreement,” Mr Pagan told this correspondent.
"We would like the African Union to exercise its influence to persuade Sudan to drop the new conditions,” he said.
The nine Dinka Ngok chiefdoms of Abyei, which was administratively transferred from Southern Sudan to Southern Kordofan in 1905, fought alongside the south against the successive Khartoum governments in the decades-long civil war that ended with the 2005 peace deal, paving the way for independence of South Sudan in July 2011.