April 27th, 2012
09:56 AM ET

How to defuse Sudan conflict

Editor's Note: Christopher Alessi is an associate staff writer at the Council on Foreign Relations. Jendayi Frazer is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Africa Studies at CFR.  The following interview is reprinted from CFR.org with permission .

By Christopher Alessi and Jendayi FrazerCFR.org

Tensions along the oil-rich border that divides Sudan and recently independent South Sudan have escalated in recent weeks, raising the prospect of a full-scale war between the longtime foes. China, which maintains considerable oil interests in both countries, has called for restraint (Reuters) and vowed to work with the United States to bring both sides back to the negotiating table.Jendayi Frazer, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, says while the role of mediation should remain with the African Union, the United States and China are vital players in this conflict that can bring pressure to bear on both parties.

However, Frazer says it is "a strategic mistake and it has never worked" for the international community to treat both sides equally, since the northern Sudan is clearly the aggressor in this latest conflict as well as many of those in the past. "The international community should be united against northern aggression," she says. FULL POST

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Topics: Africa • Conflict • Sudan