Home | News    Saturday 12 March 2011

Top US Africa diplomat: success of South Sudan dependent on North


by Toby Collins

March 6, 2011 (LONDON) – A leading US diplomat for Africa spoke of the importance of a successful north Sudan in the future of the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) at a UK think-tank meeting on the 6 March.

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US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Africa Affairs, Johnnie Carson pictured in Germany in 2009 (Photo: Vince Crawley, US Africa Command)

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Africa Affairs, Johnnie Carson, spoke of US perspectives and policy goals as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) approaches its conclusion with the declaration of the independence of RoSS, at the London-based analysis, debate and ideas institute, Chatham House.

He covered future relations between north and South Sudan and independently; Darfur; security; the road map given to the Khartoum government which could see them removed from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list; and more.


Carson said the referendum vote “demonstrated the ability of the Sudanese people working together with representatives from Africa and the rest of the international community to overcome enormous obstacles and set the country on path towards peace and renewal.”

Despite the fact that this time last year “Little if any preparation was underway. South Sudan Referendum Commission [SSRC] was not functioning. Key provisions of the CPA were unimplemented and many observers doubted northern leaders would allow the referendum to allow without challenges or accept its results without discrediting them.”

He described the referendum as a “remarkable achievement and success” for which the AU, UN and governments of north and South Sudan “deserve enormous credit”.


He warned that the formation of South Sudan as “a viable and self-sustaining nation [...] may take decades to realise.”

He believes that they “must build upon the momentum and goodwill generated by the successful referendum to push the parties to make critical compromises on some remaining difficult issues.” This includes the popular consultations and citizenship.

He was concerned that many people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where the popular consultations will take place “have retained the weapons and their loyalty to the SPLM.” The citizens of these areas will be consulted on whether they see the CPA as the final settlement between north and South Sudan.

On the subject of the status of Abyei, which he described as “complex”, he said “further procrastination could exacerbate an already volatile situation.” Abyei is an oil-rich region on the border between north and South Sudan. Its statehood is still a matter of dispute.

“Agreement was reached on Abyei in Naivasha and the decision of the Abyei boundary commission was meant to be final and binding. The north’s refusal to accept the decision however led to arbitration that severely delayed the implementation of the Abyei protocol stipulated by the CPA.”

The status of “as many as 2 million” southerners living in north Sudan and fewer northerners in South Sudan is a “major potential flashpoint” - citizenship rights should be agreed upon by both states.


If South Sudan is to assert its economic independence, it is important to recognise the importance of north Sudan in the “interdependence of the countries’ oil sectors,” due to factors such as the “irreplaceable expertise and critical infrastructure” in the north.

He warned that “grandiose plans for an alternative pipeline and export route which could cost billions of dollars and take many years to execute should only be considered if they make commercial and economic sense. For the moment, the economic case for moving forward on such an independent effort does not exist.”


Carson encouraged north and South Sudan to “sustain and deepen their ties” to resolve issues over debt allocation, foreign embassies, currency.

He gave France and Germany as an example of how once warring nations can normalise relations, and India and Pakistan, and Ethiopia and Eritrea as examples of what can happen if the separation process is unsuccessful.

South has a “series of especially hard internal challenges” to contest with. He gave the example of militia groups who “pose an ongoing security threat in the absence of a strong, professional, appropriately sized and equipped and configured military and security”

The US will “help it address issues of security sector reform and demobilisation.”
“The Republic of South Sudan will be one of the most disadvantaged states to join the international community over the past century. Its institutional foundations are weak. Much of the area has virtually no transportation.”

He voiced concern for the future, saying that “transparent and democratic process should be the political standard for the southern Sudanese people” whose expectations should be realistic and achievable.


He assured north Sudan that “we are as committed in Washington to helping it [Khartoum] work through these challenges as we are with working with the government in South Sudan.”

He lauded the fact that Khartoum “took an enormous risk” when it fulfilled its CPA commitment to readily accept whatever the outcome of the referendum vote was.


“The US has presented the Sudanese government with a clear roadmap towards normalised and improved relations, including an eventual removal of Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Fully normalised relations, however, are contingent upon achieving a non-military resolution to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Darfur.”

Sudan has been on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list since 1993, resulting in trade sanctions and financial restrictions.

We will do our part to “dissuade the Southern Sudanese government from them [Darfur rebel groups] militarily.”

“Darfur is and should remain an integral part of Sudan.” Carson called upon Khartoum to allow NGOs “regular, unimpeded access” to affected areas in Darfur.

“Khartoum will have to take risks, as it has with South Sudan, to prove to its sceptics that it is serious about achieving peace in Darfur.”


“Despite its oil wealth and the economic boom observed in Khartoum over the past decade living conditions in much of northern Sudan remain far below their potential and promise.”

“We will continue to encourage the government of Sudan to allow for a more open political space, democratic norms, and greater respect for human rights, just as we do with all of Sudan’s neighbours.”

“We are concerned by the constraints on free speech and political activity.”

“Sudan’s future stability and prosperity is contingent on making steady progress on democracy and government. The government need only look to its northern neighbours to understand the ultimate consequences if it does not.”


There is an audio recording of Johnnie Carson’s talk at Chatham House on their website.


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  • 12 March 2011 10:02, by Gaddfa

    shut the fuck up what do know about the success? Southern Sudan will make it by it own. don’t tell us Sudan was divided before we have been under control of those you claim to be god that is going create south to be success state. guess what if you were dump and blind they did nothing little compare to what we did in this short period of time.

    repondre message

    • 12 March 2011 12:16, by Challenger

      Why? Are they (northerns) the one holding our breath? Or holding our spirits? we have made it on our own during the struggle upto the present day,can you tell me;what is it that we cannot do?shut up your mouth you foolish Union.

      repondre message

  • 12 March 2011 14:39, by AbuDeng

    This is total nonsense! The South’s success depends on its own ability to produce/create goods and services (wheat, fish, oil, trees, technology, etc.) and manage its revenue while taking care of its people (education, jobs, healthcare, security).

    Such an outdated view is a failed idealogy reminiscent of the colonial times.

    USA: forget that talk, Open your ports to our goods, buy our services, give us investment dollars, technical advice and capacity bulding assistance.FULL STOP

    repondre message

    • 13 March 2011 08:23, by Sam.Eto

      THATS THE POINT - YOU HAVE NO GOODS or SERVICES you can offer. Capacity building will take decades - considering your backward and illiterate society.

      ’Give us investment dollars’ - to do what ? waste it like you wasted the last $10 billion !

      Pagan Amum can play hard ball - but the reality is the GOSS is weak, tribal and incompitant. Blaming the North for all your problems will only make things worse. Tell Mr. Kiir the only alternative routeto export oil is by carrying the crude barrels of oil by donkey’s !

      cooperation and help is what you need - be as proud and patriotic as you want. That wont change the sad reality on the ground.

      repondre message

  • 13 March 2011 03:29, by Yoyo

    South sudan don’t need asistant from North we enough already they hurt us alot,any kind of relationship with North is a disaster,we don’t need anything from them,we have our brothers here that we can us in case we need help,but not north. if i were SPLM,i would cut the pipeline,and move it to mombasa, Kenya

    repondre message

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  • 27 February 2017 02:32, by aaa auto spa

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  • 6 March 2018 22:28, by aaa auto spa


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