KHARTOUM, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The disputes over the oil-rich Abyei area, on the borders between Sudan and South Sudan, post a major challenge to the two countries' latest reconciliation efforts, analysts said.
As Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit resumed talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Friday, political analysts predict that either side would be reluctant to give up the Abyei area.
Observers believe that there are many reasons that keep the Abyei issue unsolved. For example, the issue used to be an internal dispute in Sudan, but now becomes a conflict between two countries following the independence of South Sudan in July 2011.
"The main reason that stands as a barrier to the settlement of the Abyei issue is the transformation of the issue from a dispute between local communities into a political conflict between two countries, in addition to the quest for a solution through the international community," Omer Al-Ansari, a leading figure of the Sudanese Arab Mesiria tribe, told Xinhua.
"The leaders of Dinka Ngok in South Sudan have worked to use the Abyei issue as a political card against the Sudanese government. This move caused us to lose the opportunity of reaching a solution through the Abyei Administration," he added.
Al-Ansari urged Sudanese President al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Mayardit to return the Abyei issue to two local communities -- the Arab Mesiria tribe, which belongs to Sudan; and Dinka Ngok, which is historically associated with South Sudan.
Al-Ansari noted that oil is an essential factor in the dispute over the affiliation of Abyei. "The Mesiria tribe does not mind dividing the oil of Abyei between Sudan and South Sudan, granting the two tribes double nationality for the sake of living in peace. "
"Among the reasons which complicated the Abyei issue and caused each party to adhere to the area is its strategic location and oil wealth," said Mohamed Ali Yousif, a Sudanese political analyst.
"In my own point of view, the issue of Abyei will not be resolved politically," said Yousif. "Therefore, I believe the sons of the area's two tribes should be given the opportunity to decide its fate and find conclusive solutions."
However, Khalid Saad, editor-in-chief of Sudanese Elaf newspaper, believes that the complication of Abyei issue was deeper than just a conflict between Sudan and South Sudan over oil resources.
"Abyei area constitutes one of the border points between the two countries, and each party adheres to its affiliation on security, political and economic bases but to a lesser degree," Saad told Xinhua.
"There is a historical dispute between the two local groups in Abyei where the two tribes exercise great pressure on the two countries' governments, which makes reaching solutions almost impossible," he noted.
So far, all proposals concerning the Abyei issue, presented by the African Union, have failed.
Abyei, on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, administratively belongs to Sudan's South Kordofan State and includes two thirds of Sudan's oil wells, which begin with Sharif and Abu Jabra oil wells in the east and extend to Higlieg and Balila wells.
A referendum was scheduled to be held in Abyei to decide the fate of the area coincident with the referendum on self- determination for South Sudan in January 2011 which resulted in the separation between the north and the south, but the voting did not take place due to differences over who has the right to vote.