Khartoum - Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Monday
pledged to work with his South Sudanese counterpart to settle the future of the
contested Abyei region, where residents were holding an unofficial referendum.
"I will continue with my brother Salva Kiir... to reach
a solution for Abyei that can bring satisfaction to the local communities
there," Bashir said in a speech opening a new session of parliament.
He did not refer to the voting underway Monday by members of
Abyei's Ngok Dinka tribe, which is closely connected with South Sudan and whose
members are settled in Abyei.
The Arab Misseriya tribe, who traditionally move back and
forth from Sudan grazing their cattle, have rejected the one-sided ballot which
is not sanctioned by the South Sudanese government.
"What happens in this referendum is none of our
business. We don't care about it," the top Misseriya chief, Mukhtar Babo
Nimir, told AFP.
Last week, he said the Misseriya might hold their own ballot
if the Ngok Dinka went ahead, although he added that the tribe would not act
without consulting the Khartoum government.
In his speech, Bashir said he and Kiir had agreed at a
summit last week to form an Abyei police force and local administration.
They had already pledged in September to quickly build that
administration, which has been delayed for more than two years since both sides
first agreed to it.