The two chapters in this part highlight the complexity of negotiating resolutions to disputes over land and territory, as well as the challenges to implementing such resolutions.
Salman M. A. Salman traces the long and complex process for negotiating a resolution to a persistent territorial dispute in “The Abyei Territorial Dispute between North and South Sudan: Why Has Its Resolution Proven Difficult?” The Abyei area is on the border between Sudan and what has become the new state of South Sudan. Because of the multiplicity of claims, actors, and interests involved, numerous agreements regarding the disputed territory have been reached and then broken. Various international interlocutors-including the Abyei Boundaries Commission, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the United Nations, the African Union, and the United States-have sought to facilitate resolution of the conflict, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Although an agreement was signed as recently as June 2011 by the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (representing South Sudan), Salman argues that a durable resolution to the Abyei territorial dispute is attainable only by the traditional leaders of the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka tribes themselves. The two tribes lived in peace for a long time, and differences between members of the two communities were resolved by their leaders on the basis of the traditions and customs of the two tribes. In other words, although international mediation is potentially a valuable tool, it must be accessible and legitimate to local constituencies in order to succeed. Salman concludes by considering how the failure to resolve this dispute has continued to destabilize relations between Sudan and the new state of South Sudan.