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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Khartoum Aug 18 (SUNA)-Head of Abyei Joint Supervisory for Sudan, Ahmed AL Salih Saluha affirmed that the upcoming ''Transitional Government'' has to give special concern for Abyei Area particularly the availing of services.
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.
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.
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".
Higher Council for Coordinating Dinka Abyei Affairs (HCCDAA) Chairman Chole Muien, said Abyei Youth Union ( AYU) which has held its foundational conference recently required attention and concern.
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.