When the people of South Sudan went to a referendum in January last year to decide on whether to split from Sudan, the result was decisive. Nearly 99% voted in favour of independence. After decades of instability, many Southern Sudanese hoped that separation from Sudan would end the country's troubles and pave the way for democratisation and essential development.
We cannot abandon the people of South Sudan at such a moment of renewed need, whatever our frustrations. They have suffered so long for their prized independence and deserve so much better. But even if the present crisis is mitigated by some kind of agreement after even worse north-south brinkmanship than we are used to, the international community will have to demand much more and better from the government in Juba, as well as pressing Khartoum. The message may be unwelcome. But accepting responsibility is part of independence too.