By William Tucker
Chief Correspondent for In Homeland Security
After intense pressure from its neighbors, South Sudan is inching closer to a diplomatic breakthrough to end the recent violence. South Sudanese president Salva Kiir had used military force to disrupt an alleged coup plot directed against him, but in doing so he inflamed tribal tensions among the two main tribes in the country. In the midst of the fighting nearly 200,000 people were forced from their homes while aid agencies struggled to cope with the influx. The situation prompted South Sudan’s neighbors, and several international heavyweights, to pressure the warring factions to come to the negotiating table. Just recently the Nuer chief negotiator, Taban Deng, stated that full reconciliation was possible. While Deng may be correct, South Sudan still has a ways to go in stabilizing the world’s newest country. In fact, the opportunity arose for many of South Sudan’s neighbors to push even harder in a wider peace agreement by including the government of Sudan. Presidents of both nations have pledged to create a joint force to protect the oil fields that lay along the shared border and may help alleviate some tensions in the area. While the talks themselves are important, the overall situation in South Sudan and the continuing tensions between the two Sudan’s still simmer, but with so much international pressure coming down on the parties involved a positive outcome is still likely. Not everything will be solved in this round of talks, but the two Sudan’s, and the fighting factions in South Sudan, have now witnessed first hand how far their neighbors will go to exert pressure. This will likely impact many political decisions in Juba and Khartoum in the coming years.
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