Just three weeks after the town of Abyei — at the flashpoint of tensions threatening to unravel Sudan’s 2005 North-South peace deal — was all but completely destroyed, the two sides have apparently reached an agreement over the contentious, oil-rich region. The substance of the agreement includes an interim administration, the deployment of police and joint North-South army units, and international arbitration to determine the boundaries of the region.

There’s only one problem with this latter aspect of the agreement: an international commission already has determined Abyei’s borders. Problems have persisted because the government of Sudan has refused to endorse the commission’s decision and failed to abide by its recommendations. In a sense, then, this “solution” seems to be begging the question of Abyei all over again. For the sake of the 50,000 people recently displaced from Abyei town, as well as that of Sudanese throughout the country who would suffer from renewed warfare, we can only hope this question won’t be answered with more bloodshed.

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