More than a week of bloody clashes over a disputed oil town has raised the specter of renewed civil war in Sudan. Fighting there has displaced millions of people over the years, creating a humanitarian disaster that the warring parties must resolve to end now, for the good of the suffering region and their own.
Control of oil-rich and ethnically important Abyei has long been contested by both the north and south. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement mapped out an Abyei resolution, but the protocol remains unresolved.
Northern and southern leaders blame each other for renewed fighting that has left dozens dead and much of the town in ashes. The two factions reportedly agreed to end troop build-ups in the region and administer the area jointly. But the two sides have reached such agreements before with little result.
Tensions over this and other issues last year led southern Sudanese leaders to withdrawal their participation in the peace agreement’s unity government. They returned to their posts when the northern and southern presidents agreed to address key issues, including by redoubling efforts to implement the provisions on Abyei.
The U.S. is engaged with both sides in the dispute and urges them to come together once again to reach consensus on implementing the peace agreement throughout Sudan, including in this important region.