France sharply condemned Sunday the Sudanese government's seizure of Abyei and demanded it withdraw its forces from the disputed flashpoint town on the front line between north and south Sudan
On Saturday, northern troops of the Sudan Armed Forces took Abyei, a focal point of tension between northern and southern Sudan in the run-up to the planned recognition of southern independence in late July.
"France condemns the takeover of control by the Sudan Armed Forces of the town of Abyei and the Khartoum government's dissolution of the Abyei municipal administration," said a statement from the foreign ministry.
"These unilateral measures amount to a serious violation of the 2005 global peace agreement and of the Kadugli Accord signed in January," the ministry said, referring to deals supposed to have ended Sudan's civil war. The ministry also condemned what it said was an attack on May 19 against United Nations peacekeepers patrolling in Abyei.
"France calls for all non-authorised military forces to retreat from Abyei and calls on all parties to negotiate and to put in place the Abyei protocol which was part of the 2005 global peace agreement," the statement said.
France called on the warring parties to take their disagreement to the mediators on the African Union's high-level panel on Sudan.