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INSTANT VIEW: Court ruling on Sudan's Abyei region
July 22, 2009 / 1:09 PM / in 8 years

INSTANT VIEW: Court ruling on Sudan's Abyei region

ABYEI, Sudan (Reuters) - An international court redefined borders of Sudan’s disputed oil-producing Abyei area on Wednesday.

The borders of Abyei are seen as a key stumbling block in implementation of a battered 2005 north-south peace deal that ended over two decades of civil war fought largely along ethnic and religious lines.

Following are some reactions to the ruling by officials from both sides of the conflict, which is separate from the ongoing unrest in Darfur:

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN

”The decision of the permanent arbitration court on the Abyei region is an essential step in putting in place the Global Peace Agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan.

“France calls on the two parties ... to carry out this decision as quickly as possible. They must do everything to apply it locally.”

“France welcomes the presence in Abyei of a U.N. Special Representatives, Ashraf Qazi, and the measures taken by the peacekeeping mission in the Sudan, the UNMIS, to reinforce its presence in the region. According to the mandate fixed by resolution 1870 of the security council, the UNMIS must intervene if necessary in order to protect the civil population.”

“France has paid a contribution of 100,000 euros to the financial assistance fund of the permanent arbitration court with the aim of contributing to covering the costs of the adhoc tribunal of Abyei.”

ALEX VINES, AFRICA SPECIALIST AT THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, LONDON

“The crucial thing will be whether both sides accept this ruling. Tensions have risen in the last few days and the next few months will be absolutely crucial.”

He said it was too soon to tell whether oil companies will now feel emboldened to invest. “What the oil companies want is stability.”

MUTRIF SIDDIG, SUDANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY UNDERSECRETARY

REPRESENTING SUDAN‘S CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

“We respect this decision. And this decision is final and binding because all the parties agreed from the beginning that the decision of the court was binding and final. Also, the decision guarantees the rights of Misseriya pastoralists... We think the decision is a step forward.”

DENG ALOR, FOREIGN MINISTER IN COALITION GOVERNMENT WHO

REPRESENTS FORMER SOUTHERN REBELS

“The decision ... is binding on the parties. SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) and the people of this area will respect and implement that decision with regards to the northern boundaries. The northern boundaries, as far as the Dinka are concerned, remain the same. The court has dismissed the shared area and has annexed the shared area to the Misseriya. With regards to the east and west, the Dinka have lost some small areas ... But all in all we think the decision of the court is acceptable.”

“We need to see the line on paper and on land so we really determine where the (oil) wells fall.”

SCOTT GRATION, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO SUDAN

“I am very optimistic ... I had an opportunity to drive through Abyei and see the changes. The new building, the new construction, the repairs that have been done. I have also had an opportunity to spend the last month talking to senior members and leaders of the SPLM and the NCP, and I have got to tell you, I‘m optimistic. The commitments that these folks have made in words, I am convinced that they will be carried out in deed and that this arbitration decision will be fully implemented. The border will be demarcated and the Dinka and the Misseriya will live for a long time in peace. This area will be one where people can grow up to have and enjoy the benefits that are coming to this region with development. Everyone is committed to this arbitration which is final and binding, and I think it is going to work out just fine.”

ASHRAF QAZI, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE U.N. SECRETARY

GENERAL FOR SUDAN

“The decision is final and binding on both parties, and both parties have already committed themselves to accept the decision as final and binding ... This will pave the way for the peaceful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as a whole. The rights of both communities have been guaranteed as a matter of international law. So even if anybody is not 100 percent satisfied, I do believe this has been a win-win decision for both sides. And both sides deserve to be congratulated for cooperating and committing themselves to the peaceful implementation of this final decision.”

ABDEL BAQI AL-JAILANI, STATE MINISTER FOR HUMANITARIAN

AFFAIRS FROM SUDAN‘S DOMINANT NATIONAL CONGRESS PARTY

“There is no distinct line between Dinka and Misseriya in this area. People are intermingling. They reflect the unity of Sudan. We are looking to this area as a start point for the referendum of 2011. This will be the focal point where Sudan starts to unite... Nobody expected to get 100 percent of what he wanted. But there is a good compromise.”

“It is accepted and we are committed to applying it ... The Misseriya will access water and the area. I don’t thing there is anything to upset the Misseriya or the north in particular.”

RIEK MACHAR, VICE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH SUDAN

“We want peace. We think this decision is going to consolidate the peace ... We came to see justice and it’s a decision we will respect.”

Reporting by Andrew Heavens in Abyei, Khalid Abdul Aziz in Khartoum and Aaron Gray-Block in the Hague; Writing by Alastair Sharp in Cairo

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