Den permanente voldgiftsdomstolen i Haag har tilkjent regjeringen i Khartoum retten til de viktige Heglig-oljefeltene i Abyei-regionen. Avgjørelsen er en stor seier for diktaturet, ikke minst økonomisk. Feltene drives i samarbeid med Malaysia, India og Kina.

Oljeinntektene gjør Khartoum i stand til å drive den etniske rensingen av Darfur. Det er også grunnen til at land som Kina og India ikke har villet være med på sanksjoner mot Khartoum.

The five-member panel affirmed the northern boundary as set by a 2005 commission, but drew new lines in the east and west that placed the Heglig oil fields and the Nile oil pipeline under control of the Khartoum government.

Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed, the head of the northern government delegation, called the decision a victory. «We welcome the fact that the oil fields are now excluded from the Abyei area, particularly the Heglig oil field,» he said.

Riek Machar Teny, deputy chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, said the southerners accepted the panel’s ruling. «I think the decision is balanced. We are committed to respecting it,» he told AP. «I think this is going to consolidate peace in Sudan. It is a victory for the Sudanese people and a victory for peace.»

The 2005 peace deal created a unity government and gave the south a semi-autonomous status, but left Abyei’s borders and future status unresolved. It called for the southern Sudanese to hold a referendum in 2011 on whether to secede from the north or remain united.Abyei residents will hold a separate referendum that year to decide whether to join the north or south.

The Heglig field was first developed in 1996 and is operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. Sudan has a majority stake, with shares owned by companies from China, Malaysia and India. It has significant oilreserves but experts say production already has peaked and is now declining.

Arbitration panel gives oil field to Sudan