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Sudan-South Sudan Tensions Flare over Oil-Rich Abyei

As new talks are set to get underway between Sudan and South Sudan, another skirmish is threatening the shaky peace as the two sides spar over control of oil-rich Abyei.

The temporary solution for the Abyei dispute is a deal that would see each side nominate seven members of a new administration who would serve until a referendum can be held to determine the will of the local population.

Khartoum is now accusing Juba of appointing the new administration unilaterally, in violation of the accord.

While both sides claim Abyei, Khartoum effectively seized it last May but then withdrew its forces under international pressure. 

The interim administration deal for Abyei has been plagued by disagreements, with each refusing to accept the nominations of the other.

Border demarcation talks are set to resume next week in Ethiopia, but the timing is poor.
Not only are the two sides raising tensions over Abyei, but the death of the Ethiopian president Meles Zenawi makes for an uncertain atmosphere in the Ethiopian capital as well.

Failure to come to an agreement over Abyei and border demarcation will hinder the implementation of an oil transit deal the two sides agreed on earlier.  

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com



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