Impasse Over Abyei Resolved

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A historic decision that once and for all resolves the contentious issue of the boundaries of Abyei has finally been reached by the Hague based Permanent Court of Arbitration. The issue of Abyei has long been a major stumbling block that imperiled the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) until the partners of the Government of National Unity resolved a year ago to call on an international Tribunal to preside over the matter and determine the boundaries of the region. The decision of the court, as agreed upon by the parties at the outset, is to be final and binding to the parties, a commitment reiterated today by Mutrif Sidiq, the under-secretary for Foreign Affairs and Foreign minister Deng Alor.

The chief mandate of the judges was to determine whether or not the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC), tasked with delimiting the borders of Abyei soon after the signing of the CPA, exceeded its mandate and or if it was justified in drawing the borders as it did. The verdict stated “In conclusion, the tribunal is satisfied that the ABC Experts’ Principal finding that ‘the Ngok have a legitimate dominant claim to the territory from the Kordofan-Bahr el Ghazal boundary north to latitude 10 degrees 10’N,’ is supported by sufficient reason. . . as far as the ABC experts’ selection of latitude 10 degrees 35′ N and 10 degrees 22’30″N is concerned, their decision is not supported by sufficient reasons.”

The Tribunal determined that “the Expert’s decisions regarding the eastern and western boundary lines were in excess of mandate for failure to state sufficient reasoning. . . the selection of the western boundary line by the ABC Experts was entirely unreasoned.” The Judges proceeding in accordance with their mandate then drew new boundaries for the disputed area. The end result struck a balance that appeased all parties, where control of the territory in which lies the Heglig oil field was the purview of Northern Sudan while the Ngok dinka retained much of the area the ABC had previously delimited.

The rights of both the Ngok Dinka and the Miseriya have been secured and guaranteed by this international ruling. The parties recognized it as a “victory for the Sudanese people and a victory for peace”. Ashraf Qazi, head of mission of UN in the country noted the parties’ ability to work together in good faith. The imminent task now for everyone is to disseminate the information on the ground so that people are educated about what the decision implies and what it means for peace in general. It should be stressed that the utility of the land and its bountiful resources is exclusively the prerogative of the two communities and is sanctioned for and protected in the “shared rights area”. Knowledge of this fact will be key to preventing any future conflicts over resources such as the ones the communities have in the past experienced.

This resolution is not only a seminal milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement but also a significant stride towards a realization of a broader peace in Sudan. And it’s really worth noting that this ruling does not take away from the fact that Sudan remains one country and one people. The exemplary cooperation sets precedence and a reliable method for peacefully resolving existing impasses and any future points of contention. It is indeed an occasion that clearly demonstrates Sudan’s commitment to peace and the establishment of the important pillars upon which democracy is to stand and flourish. Finally, Sudan extends its gratitude to the international community and regional partners for their constructive role in pushing and ensuring that Sudan reaches a peaceful solution on this matter.

Source: Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

CONTACT: Embassy of Sudan Press and Information Office
Fax: +1-202-667-2406

WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

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