March 25, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The United States is prepared for an eventual secession of southern Sudan, said the President Barak Obama special envoy to Sudan who showed optimism there would be no reprise of war between northern and southern Sudan.
- File - US special envoy to Sudan General Scott Gration (AP)
In accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January 2005, Sudan is preparing to hold general elections next April ahead of self determination referendum on southern Sudan independence in January 2011.
Washington was "looking at all options" on how it might support a future independent South Sudan, but was focused for now on trying to ensure a peaceful transition, Scott Gration said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
He further stressed that his administration is working with the eventuality of independence more than a united Sudan.
"Looking at the realities on the ground, it is highly likely that the south will chose independence," Gration said.
Refugees International, a US based group in a report released today urged the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and donor governments to draw up plans for possible conflict around the 2011 referendum.
Ahead of the multiparty election and the referendum of 2011, the group said the US and international community "must do everything possible to ensure that the governments in north and south Sudan reach agreement on outstanding issues before the referendum, the humanitarian community must simultaneously prepare to respond if conflict erupts around the upcoming political events".
"I don’t see that the north has to reinvade the south and start the war again," Gration said. "If we can resolve these issues, I think there is a fairly good chance that ... the south can have a civil divorce, not a civil war."
He said the issues being addressed to avoid return to war include the question of citizenship, border demarcation and how to apportion profits from Sudan’s oil wealth.
"It is a win-win situation that we are trying to get," Gration said.
He added that would be hard to achieve unless the Khartoum government was willing to discuss better deals for the south as well as for Darfur and other restive parts of the country — something he said was starting to happen.
"While the progress is slow, we are making it," he said.