AFRICA NEWS, Clean Water

Sudan Update: Moving Towards Southern Secession

From our friends at Persecution Project Foundation (PPF), our partners on the ground in Jach [Jaac], Sudan, where we are helping build clean water wells…

Africa's newest country? (image from Persecution Project)

The Sudan Tribune recently reported that 24 humanitarian organizations issued a report that Sudan is “alarmingly unprepared” for the secession referendum in January 2011.

One of the key factors in insuring a peaceful transition is to clearly define the North/South Sudan border, something that has not yet been accomplished. Without both sides agreeing on what constitutes northern and southern Sudan, the possibility for a renewed conflict between the two regions is greatly increased if the South votes for independence.

The referendum on secession was one of the terms specified in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the North and South in 2005. A key player in the peace negotiations was the United States, which is accredited with making the CPA a reality.

However, since taking office, President Obama has been criticized by the Left and the Right for his lack of action in Sudan. Obama made many promises during his campaign about intervening in Sudan, especially Darfur. And experts agree that a strong U.S. presence will be needed to ensure that the referendum vote is honored by Northern Sudan. Few people seriously believe Southern Sudan will vote to remain part of the North.

Salva Kiir was overwhelmingly elected President of Southern Sudan and will likely become the President of Africa's newest country next year. (image from Persecution Project)

The bottom line is that the next several months are going to be crucial as Northern and Southern government officials work to reach an agreement on what a post-referendum Sudan will look like.

Many millions of Southern Sudanese live in the North. So their citizenship status would be a major issue if the South secedes. Moreover, there are questions on how to dispose the national debt, water issues (since the Nile runs through Southern Sudan, and is the lifeline for the North), and trade agreements (since all oil in Southern Sudan must run through the North to get to Port Sudan).

Please keep the work of Mocha Club and Persecution Project in your thoughts and prayers, so the security situation will remain stable enough for our work to continue.

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