UN Appoints Commander for Abyei Peacekeeping Force

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 1:35 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has appointed a commander for the new U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan's contested Abyei region.

The U.N. said Wednesday that Mr. Ban has named Lieutenant General Tadesse Werede Tesfay of Ethiopia as head of mission and commander of the force.

It said Tesfay will be responsible for discharging the mandate of the force, which includes monitoring and verifying the withdrawal of all armed forces from Abyei.

The Sudanese army occupied Abyei in May, amid a dispute over the region between Sudan's central government and what was then the country's semi-autonomous south.

South Sudan declared independence on July 9 but the sides have yet to determine who will ultimately control the oil-rich area.

The U.N Security Council created the U.N. Interim Security Force for Abyei last month, after the two Sudans agreed to remove their forces from Abyei.

Ethiopia has agreed to supply the troops for the peacekeeping force.

The U.N. says Commander Tesfay has extensive experience within the Ethiopian military.