We’ve been talking about the importance of the recent development on Abyei in this blog. The arbitration process underway in the Hague issued its ruling last night.
It was accepted by both parties in a bright and substantial statement.
This means: tension should diminish as both sides forces’ move apart. The communities need to be briefed on the development, which takes time, but had already prepared for this outcome.
Here’s the qualifier: the Hague’s finding on the common border opened up a new dispute over the common boundaries of Heglig and Bamboo oil fields to the east and west of Abyei, respectively.
Is this as fraught with danger as the total Abyei process? I don’t believe so. Determining what percentage of an asset that straddles a common boundary is a common practice in the oil industry and between neighbors.
Bottom line: solution mostly in place. Tensions reduced. New issues to be resolved have lower political stakes and can be resolved amicably.