Saturday, July 18, 2009

Abyei countdown, T minus 5, "It is the transferred area."

That's the final sentence of the NCP "memorial", or briefing, for the arbitration panel, in which the NCP asserts that the small part of Kordofan below the Bahr al-Arab river is the only part that was transferred to Kordofan in 1905. The reasoning of the government is simple: they assert that the evidence shows that everyone understood the boundary before 1905 to be the Bahr al-Arab, so nothing above the river was "transferred" and so cannot be part of the "new" Abyei... That area above the river is about 4 times the size of the area below, and sits on top of the oil reserves, and is what the ABC commission decided *was* part of the "9 Ngok kingdoms" transferred to Kordofan in 1905.

The SPLA "memorial", on the other hand, argues that in 1905 the occupiers had little idea where the boundary was, and had little capacity to fix a boundary, regarding the region as basically unexplored, and moreover they were confused about which river actually was the Bahr al-Arab, some mistakenly thinking it was a more northerly river (the Ragaba al Zarga). So instead the emphasis should be on what the territory controlled by the Ngok paramount chief actually was, at the time, and the SPLA thus argues it was considerably north of the Bahr al Arab.

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