disputed region, c.4,000 sq mi (10,400 sq km), on the border of Sudan and South Sudan. Claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, the area was given special administative status under the 2004 peace agreement that led to southern independence; Sudan has de facto control of Abyei. The inhabitants of the area include a Dinka group with ties to South Sudanese ethnic groups, and the nomadic Misseriya, an Arab group with ties to Sudan, who graze cattle there part of the year. Abyei also is a significant oil-producing area.

A referendum on whether Abyei would join Sudan or South Sudan was scheduled for Jan., 2011, but never took place. Skirmishes between the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army and the Sudanese army followed, and the area was seized by Sudan shortly before South Sudan declared independence in July, 2011. A UN peacekeeping force was sent to the area as violence broke out and more than 100,000 people were displaced. Sudan withdrew some of its forces in May, 2012. Internationally mediated negotiations toward a resolution of Abyei's status have continued, but little progress has been made.

References in periodicals archive ?
in Arabic) Bona Malwal held a press conference in Khartoum on December, 4th, 2017, where he said, inter alia, that Abyei is part of Sudan and that it has never been claimed neither by the SPLM nor by South Sudan.
Khartoum, June 23 (SUNA) - The Higher Council for Dinka Abyei Affairs has reiterated its support to the national dialogue and the implementation of its outcome.
The Government of the Republic of South Sudan has declared that it will not deviate from the Abyei agreement saying this is its permanent position.
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Sudan's Presidential Aide Nafie Ali Nafie warned that the African Union's proposal for the US involvement in the settlement of disputes between Sudan and South Sudan over the Abyei oil region could spark war between the two countries.
KHARTOUM: About 100 protesters rallied in Khartoum yesterday proclaiming the flashpoint Abyei region Sudanese territory, ahead of a deadline for Sudan and South Sudan to settle the area's status.
UN peacekeepers patrol the Todach area, north of Abyei (AFP/UNMIS/File, Stuart Price)
There are conflicting reports over an alleged withdrawal by Sudanese forces from Abyei, the disputed, oil-rich region on the border with South Sudan.
The Security Council Friday extended by five months the mandate the United Nations peacekeeping force for the Abyei area, which is contested by South Sudan and Sudan, stressing that the mission's ability to do its work effectively will depend on the implementation by the two countries of earlier agreements.
Summary: Ethiopian peacekeepers have started to arrive in Sudan's flashpoint Abyei region and will begin operations by the end of the week, official media reported Thursday, paving the way for the army's withdrawal.
18 quoted by the London Arab daily ash-Sharq al-Awsat as saying the SPLA will respond swiftly to any attack "targeting any natives of Abyei regardless of their ethnicity".
November 15, 2016 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council has called on Sudan and South Sudan to immediately resume negotiations on the final status of the disputed area of Abyei, saying it constitutes a serious threat to international order.
Khartoum, June 6 (SUNA) - The Higher Coordinative Council of Abyei Dinka in Sudan has held South Sudan State, especially the leading figures of Dinka Ngok at Sudan Liberation Movement (SPLM) responsible for the current administrative vacuum at Abyei area, a matter that had negative effect on the life of the citizens at the area as well as stoppage of development and the lack of basic services.