SUDAN WATCH: Declaration on Abyei ruling by South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Declaration on Abyei ruling by South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit

Quote of the Day
"22 years of warfare have demonstrated to most Sudanese that lasting resolutions to intractable problems are more easily achieved around a negotiating table than through the barrel of the gun." - Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Government of South Sudan, 22 July 2009.

Some more reactions in Sudan to Abyei ruling

From Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, 23 July 2009 (Juba):
Salva Kiir Reacts to Abyei Ruling
The President of the Government of southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, reacted to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at a press conference in Juba on Wednesday evening. The following is a partial transcript of his speech.
“In my capacity as chairman of the SPLM and President of the Government of southern Sudan, I hereby declare to the people of Abyei, to the entire membership of the SPLM, to the people of southern Sudan, to the entire Sudanese nation and the international community, that the SPLM accepts the ruling that was handed down today at The Hague by the tribunal on Abyei. This is not to say that the decision was wholly in favor of the SPLM. Far from it, indeed there are aspects of the decision that will be received with disappointment by the people of the Abyei area, particularly when the full details begin to be observed. But we had given our word and by our word we will stand.

Our understanding is that this decision is only a title deed. It does not mean that the non-Dinka residents from other ethnic groups will be asked to leave the area to the Ngok people. The Dinka and the Messiriya, our Messiriya compatriots, the Ngok Dinka and other southern ethnic groups in Warrap, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Unity states have always affirmed their willingness to give access to the Messiriya and their livestock to the pastures and watering points in their areas during the dry season. This has been the nature of the relations between these ethnic groups since time immemorial.

There has been a lot of speculation over the last few days about the likelihood of some violence in the wake of the Abyei verdict. I have consistently dismissed these wishful conclusions by self-styled political analysts and strategists. My reasoning has been that 22 years of warfare have demonstrated to most Sudanese that lasting resolutions to intractable problems are more easily achieved around a negotiating table than through the barrel of the gun.”

Salva Kiir was speaking at a press conference in Juba on Wednesday evening.
From Sudan Radio Service, Thursday 23 July 2009 (Juba):
CPA Partners Discuss Abyei and the Census
The verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration has so far been greeted with enthusiasm by both signatories to the CPA, the NCP and the SPLM. Sudan Radio Service spoke to a prominent member of each party to see if they were as happy with the verdict as the initial reactions of their parties led us to believe.

First we spoke to the SPLM Secretary of Information in the southern sector, Bol Makueng, in Juba.
[SRS]: Some NCP senior officials accusing the SPLM of planning to boycott the elections. Is the SPLM really planning to boycott the election?

[Bol Makueng]: “No, the SPLM is not planning to boycott the elections; instead it is the SPLM that has always been championing democratic rights in the country. It is the SPLM position to see to it that democratic elections are conducted in the fairest way as possible."

[SRS]: The SPLM is opposing the census results and the NCP is saying they are not going to revise the census result, what is SPLM going to do?

[Bol Makueng]: "The census results were actually fabricated and it is actually rigging elections before they happen. So the SPLM is asking the NCP to see to it that the required procedures that are democratic and just are taken."

[SRS]: You say that the census results were fabricated. Did the President of the Government of southern Sudan sign and approve the census result?

[Bol Makueng]: "Salva Kiir has not accepted the census results, if he had accepted the census results, he would have sat down with the whole entire SPLM to convince them of the rationale behind it. What happened with the census results in those countries which are not like Sudan is that they actually determine the wealth and power-sharing of the country. What the NCP did what they did because they have run out of other cards, the only thing left to them was just to rig the census results. They gave the 6 prominent northern states 50 percent of the seats and they also have control of getting seats from other areas, where they decided to put certain numbers that will give them a comparative advantage over any other party. In fact, the NCP can say anything because that is what they have always done in Sudan. What has happened with the census results is a great violation of whatever was agreed in the CPA as a fair way of resolving problems in this country."

[SRS]: The national election commission has announced that it has established 17 constituencies in the north and 8 in the south. What is your reaction to this?

[Bol Makueng]: "I think that the National Electoral Committee was mistaken in the first place to actually accept those results when they knew that they were rigged. The constituency boundary demarcation must be demarcated in line with what was agreed in the CPA. Because the CPA has allotted 34 % - a third of the country - to southern Sudan, that was agreed. Now the NCP is working outside the CPA."

[SRS]: The southern Sudan election commission is claiming that they do not have funds for them to be able to operate.

[Bol Makueng]: "Yes, in fact we are supposed to get our money from the oil money and that money has not been forthcoming as planned. The people who control the oil revenue do not show us exactly how much has come and how much is to come. The NCP is the one controlling all the resources of the country, especially the oil money. How do you expect them to fund a democratic system?"

[SRS]: Yes, but you are funding the CPA celebrations in Western Equatoria to the tune of 66 million SDP. Can’t it be divided and channeled into supporting the southern Sudan electoral commission?

[Bol Makueng]: "The problem with that money is that it comes from donors and it was actually destined for that project. We cannot actually turn money around to do things which were not planned for."

[SRS]: The SPLM says that they are happy with the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, but what has SPLM gained from the verdict?

[Bol Makueng]: "First of all, that the nine chiefs of Dinka Abyei have now been given a territory was something that did not exist before. Now the people have their own territory, they are going to exercise self-determination behind a known boundary."

[SRS]: So you don’t care about the Bamboo oil field and the Heglig oil field?

[Bol Makueng]: "Don’t say we don’t care; we are still going to mark those things on the ground because the ground marking has not yet taken place. What has happened are statements and papers that have been declared and these are theoretical areas. We will go to the practical demarcation, whereby boundaries must pass in areas that are known to people."
Sudan Radio Service then asked Dr. Rabbie Abdullaati, the advisor to the Ministry of information in [Government of National Unity] GONU to react to the remarks made by Bol Makueng.
Dr. Rabbi defended the NCP, saying that the claims by the SPLM on the fabrication of the census results are baseless.

[Dr. Rabbie Abdullaati]: “Not at all fabricated. All the steps of the census were monitored by international and regional organizations and carried out by technical people, and even the census in the south was completed and monitored by the Government of southern Sudan. The federal government did not take part in the monitoring of the census in southern Sudan. I don’t think that the SPLM is correct to involve the census in order to obstruct the elections from being carried out next year.”

Dr. Rabbie rejected the accusation that NCP has fabricated the census in order to acquire more wealth.

[Dr. Rabbie Abdullaati]: “No, actually this is not correct completely. They are only depending on these false reasons because the results of the census show that the share in power and in wealth that the SPLM got during the interim period will be reduced. They will not have the same percentage that was given to them during the interim period of the CPA. Actually, they say that the results of the census will affect the constituencies in the elections. This I think is the reason for their rejection of the results. If they want to win, they should enter the elections with political programs so that the SPLM can win the elections in the south and have the same power that they enjoyed during the CPA interim period."

Dr. Rabbie insisted that the SPLM and the NCP are involved in its allocation.

[Dr. Rabbie Abdullaati]: “About the oil money, there is the Ministry of Finance and there is the state Minister of Finance also belonging to the SPLM in the federal Ministry of Finance. And there is a special organ agreed upon by the SPLM and the NCP to distribute the oil revenue and on regular basis the share which is for the southern Sudan government is transferred to the bank in Juba and I don’t think that there is any problem in the distribution of oil revenue because no sums of money are being set aside to fund the elections or for the interest of one party. There is a special agency which works in coordination with some of the officials in GOSS. All of them sit and see and check the revenue and distribute it according to the provision of the CPA."

SRS asked Dr. Rabbi if the NCP was happy with the ruling which decreed that two major oilfields should be handed over to the North.

[Dr. Rabbie Abdullaati]: “Actually we don’t consider that now the NCP has the oil fields and the SPLM has nothing. The resolution actually concentrated on the border of Abyei and Abyei now doesn’t belong to the south or the north. There is a special protocol. When the time comes to decide self-determination, then people of Abyei will have complete liberty to decide either to be part of the north or part of the south in case of secession of the south from Sudan”.

Dr. Rabbie Abdullaati and Bol Makueng spoke to Sudan Radio Service on Thursday.
Abyei, Sudan

Photo: An aerial shot of Abyei town, taken on July 21, 2009. International arbitrators on Wednesday defused the threat of a flare-up in Africa's longest running civil war as north and south Sudan accepted a ruling to redraw the boundaries of the oil-rich Abyei region. (AFP/Peter Martell)

A resident of Abyei, Sudan

Photo: A resident of Abyei marches with the Southern Sudan flag during celebrations following the Permanent Court of Arbitration's decision on the Abyei boundary on July 22, 2009.  (AFP/UNMIS/Tim Mckulka) 

Abyei Tribunal

Photo: Sudanese women celebrate the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in Abyei, central Sudan, Wednesday, 22 July 2009. (Tim McKulka/UNMIS/Reuters) Hat tip: Christian Science Monitor

Abyei Tribunal

Photo: Overview of The Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 22, 2009. An international arbitration panel has awarded the Sudanese government control over a large oil field, settling a boundary dispute with southern Sudan that led to bloodshed last year. The five member Permanent Court of Arbitration affirmed the northern boundary of the Abyei region as set by a 2005 boundary commission, but drew new boundaries in the east and west that placed the Heglig oil fields and the Nile oil pipeline under control of the Khartoum government. (AP Photo/Ermindo Armino)

SPLM delegation at the Peace Palace in The Hague

Photo: Members of the delegation of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) are seen at The Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 22, 2009.  (AP Photo/Ermindo Armino)

Abyei Tribunal

Photo: Members of the northern government delegation are seen at The Great Hall of Justice at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Ermindo Armino) Wed Jul 22, 2009.

Note comments (27 so far) at Sudan Tribune article, Thursday 23 July 2009 - SPLM Chairman declares acceptance of Abyei ruling - by James Gatdet Dak July 22, 2009 (Juba):
The Chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has declared the acceptance of the ruling on the boundaries of the disputed area of Abyei by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

Dr. Riek Machar

Photo: VP of South Sudan government, Dr Riek Machar from The Hague informing by phone Sudan’s FVP and GOSS President Salva Kiir about the award of Abyei Arbitration Tribunal on July 22, 2009 (photo Moses Lomayat)

Salva Kiir Mayardit who also wears two other hats as the First Vice President of Sudan and President of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, shortly after the ruling on Wednesday, issued an official statement urging the people of Abyei, Southern Sudan, Sudan and international community in general to stand behind the ruling and support its implementation.

On Wednesday, in The Hague, the Permanent Court of Arbitration redefined the new boundaries of Abyei in a ruling which was final and binding.

Delegations of the SPLM, led by the Deputy Chairperson, Dr. Riek Machar and the National Congress Party’s led government of Sudan, led by Al-Diri Diri Mohamed, attended the declaration of the ruling in The Hague.

Dr. Riek Machar in a statement shortly after the announcement of the ruling described the verdict on Abyei as a “victory for the Sudanese people and victory for peace” in the country. Aldiri Diri also called the ruling a “victory.”

In Juba, citizens generally welcomed the ruling, but were quick to express their concern that the contested oil fields of Higlig had fallen outside of Abyei boundaries to the east.

Higlig oil fields were contested between Abyei Area, Southern Kordufan and Unity state.

The Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Michael Makuei Lueth, explained in a televised interview after the ruling that the fate of the area under which Higlig oil fields fall will be resolved in the North-South border demarcation process.

“What we want is Abyei Area [of nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms] not oil fields,” he explained, adding that the issue of Higlig oil fields will be tackled by the North-South Border Committee.

The contest on the fate of the oil fields in the next stage will be between Southern Kordufan and Unity state; both of which counter-claim the ownership of the territory in accordance with the January 1, 1956 North-South boundary.

Arop Madut, member of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in Juba representing Abyei Area, described the ruling as a “big achievement,” adding that it had brought back to Dinka Ngok their territory which was claimed by the Meserriya tribe.

He added that it was now clear what constituted the Ngok Dinka territory that will vote in the 2011 referendum to either join the South or remain with the North.

The details in the document on the Court’s ruling are yet to be availed to the public for clarity.

SudanTribune's latest articles on Abyei :
Click on Abyei label here below for related reports and updates.

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