June 7, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The former governor of the US state of Alaska and the 2008 Republican party candidate for Vice President Sarah Palin will travel to Sudan next July, according to a newspaper report.
- FILE - Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (L) and Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
“I am going to Sudan in July and hope to stop in England on the way,” Palin was quoted as saying by the UK-based Sunday Times.
One of Palin’s aides speaking to ABC news refused to offer further details on the purpose of her trip.
“I can’t go beyond what the governor said” the unnamed aide said.
Palin, who is considered a rising star in the Republican Party, is seen by many analysts as a possible contender in her party to run against US President Barack Obama in 2012. However, she has neither denied nor confirmed the speculations.
The Republican figure appears to be heading to South Sudan to attend the independence ceremony scheduled for July 9th which will mark the establishment of the new state.
Southern Sudanese voted overwhelmingly last January in favor of separation from the the North. The referendum was stipulated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the two decades war between the the largely Christian and animist south Sudan and the mostly Muslim North.
The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) has already sent out invitations to regional and international leaders to be present at the ceremony.
However, it is unlikely that South Sudan has the capacity to receive a large number of foreign dignitaries in terms of accommodation facilities and security arrangements.
Palin’s interest in Sudan affairs is only evident during her 2008 Thursday’s vice presidential debate with her Democratic counterpart Joe Biden.
In the debate, Palin said she had advocated the state of Alaska divest from Sudan over the alleged war crimes in Darfur.
"When I and others in the legislature found out that we had some millions of dollars [of Permanent Fund investments] in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars," Palin said.
However, US news networks later refuted Palin’s assertions saying that her record does not show any instance of her mentioning the crisis in Sudan or raising concerns about Alaska’s investments tied to Khartoum government.
Moreover it was revealed that Palin’s administration in Alaska openly opposed the divestment bill, and stated its opposition in a public hearing on the measure.