The Security Council on Thursday extended for another year the mandate of U.N. peacekeepers in southern Sudan who monitor compliance with a peace deal that ended Sudan’s two-decade-long civil war. All 15 members of the council voted in favor of a resolution renewing the mandate for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) until April 30, 2010.

The council also condemned “all acts and forms of violence” against the people of Sudan, according to a copy of the U.S.-drafted resolution obtained by Reuters ahead of the vote. The council “deplores the persistent and localized violence and its effect on civilians, especially within Southern Sudan, and the continuing potential for violence,” it said.

Earlier in April at least 177 people were killed in the Jonglei state of semi-autonomous south Sudan. This was the latest episode in a vicious cycle of cattle raiding and counterattacks in southern Sudan that has plagued the oil-rich region since Sudan’s 2005 north-south peace deal put an end to one of Africa’s longest conflicts but left southern civilians heavily armed.

International analysts and officials in the southern government have worried aloud that, as well as disrupting peace, these clashes maintain a divisive atmosphere ahead of planned national elections in 2010 and a referendum on independence for the south in 2011.

The council urged the north and south to cooperate with UNMIS so that a final agreement can be reached on the borders of the oil-rich Abyei region straddling northern and southern Sudan. North and south Sudan have agreed to an arbitration process to resolve the border dispute.



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