S. Sudan VP Riek Machar: 'We should start the process of repatriation of the Abyei area as soon as possible'
Sudan Radio Service asked Riek Machar, the Vice-President of southern Sudan, for his reaction to the court’s decision.
[Riek Machar ]: “As you know we respect the findings of the arbitration report, I can not tell you that it is good news or bad news because some areas, that we felt should be in, are out of it. Heglig is out of it, Merem is out of it, and as you know this area is contested by Northern Bahr el-Ghazal. Unity is contesting Heglig, so these issues still have to be discussed.”
Machar expressed his concern that some oil-producing areas may find themselves north of a new border demarcation.
[Riek Machar]: “The Abyei area has oil. In Difra, there is exploration going on within the area demarcated, and as you know, Heglig is where the oil is, and it has also some oil-fields. Yes there are resources in the area generally and revenue-wise it means a lot. However, the people of the south will still have a chance to discuss this ruling with the north-south border committee.”
Machar appealed to the people of Abyei to abide by the decision of the tribunal and he described the next step in the demarcation process.
[Riek Machar]: “Now we have Abyei with a known boundary, we would like the people to calmly accept the ruling. We should start the process of repatriation of the Abyei area as soon as possible so that we can be ready for the referendum that will come in eighteen months. The next step will be to demarcate these borders on the ground. They are now delimited on paper, now we will need a joint survey committee to do the survey on the ground.
Riek Machar was speaking to Sudan Radio Service from The Hague.
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