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A Welcome Peace Deal For Abyei


Representatives from North and South Sudan reach a landmark agreement outlining the status of the disputed Abyei border region in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, June 20, 2011.

The leaders of Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement have agreed to withdraw their troops from the disputed Abyei region.

The leaders of Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement have agreed to withdraw their troops from the disputed Abyei region and allow soldiers from Ethiopia to serve as peacekeepers there. It is an important first step toward bringing peace and security to the region, and the United States urges that the agreement be quickly implemented.

Fighting erupted in Abyei state last month. Sudanese troops took control of key towns, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes. The humanitarian situation deteriorated and aid workers were denied access to many of the displaced.

The truce agreement followed an intense diplomatic effort, one greatly aided by South African President Thabo Mbeki and an African Union high-level implementation panel. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sudan Haile Menkerios also played a critical role. Top U.S. officials including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have taken a personal interest in advocating for peace in Sudan. Secretary Clinton met personally with the parties in Addis Ababa last week.

The fighting in Abyei isn't the only crisis facing the people of Sudan, however, and the work of bringing peace to the region is not done. Violence continues in Sudan's Southern Kordofan state, and the United States is deeply concerned about reports of attacks targeting individuals based on their political affiliation and ethnicity. We continue to call on all parties to immediately end the conflict there and provide unfettered access to humanitarian aid workers so that they can provide needed humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by fighting in the region.

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