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Hague court's ruling on oil region division bolsters chance for peace in Sudan

Residents of Abyei, Sudan, some carrying south Sudan flags, celebrate Wednesday the decision of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration to resolve the north-south boundary dispute.

United Nations Mission in Sudan

Residents of Abyei, Sudan, some carrying south Sudan flags, celebrate Wednesday the decision of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration to resolve the north-south boundary dispute.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Sudan's fragile peace overcame a major hurdle Wednesday when a legal panel drew a compromise map splitting an oil-rich region between the government-held north and the semiautonomous south controlled by former rebels.

The court ruling on the Abyei region gave the northern government control of significant oil fields and handed the southern administration a large area that contains the home villages of many of those who fought during a 20-year civil war.

The international community urged the north and south to swiftly implement the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was hailed as just by both sides.

"The tribunal gave something to everybody," said Vanessa Jimenez, a lawyer for the south.

After presiding arbitrator Pierre-Marie Dupuy read a summary of the 269-page ruling, crowds of Sudanese, some in suits, others in flowing white robes and headdresses, huddled around a large map showing the new borders that was projected onto a screen in the wood-paneled Great Hall of Justice.

Residents from the Dinka tribe marched in Abyei waving southern Sudan government flags to celebrate the decision.

The ethnic Arab Misseriah tribe fought alongside the northern army after civil war erupted while the ethnically African Dinka fought with the south.

Arab militias backed by government forces and ethnically African rebels are also fighting in a separate conflict in Sudan's northwestern Darfur province.

The head of the Sudanese government's delegation, Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed, hailed the 4-1 decision giving it the Heglig oil fields and the Nile oil pipeline.

Riek Machar Teny, deputy chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, a southern group, called the ruling balanced.

"I think this is going to consolidate peace in Sudan," he said.

Hague court's ruling on oil region division bolsters chance for peace in Sudan 07/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 11:57pm]

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