Home | News    Saturday 23 October 2010

U.S. moving on Sudan with full force, rejects any referendum delay


October 22, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The United States today made it clear that it wants the January 2011 independence vote in South Sudan despite talks by northern officials about a postponement and a fresh push by Egypt in that direction.

From left to right Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs; U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration; Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs October 22, 2010 (US State Department)

The referendums in south Sudan and the oil-rich region of Abyei were a centrepiece of a 2005 accord which ended two decades of civil war in which about two million people died. Preparations for the key votes have proceeded haltingly amid political and logistical obstacles, and the southerners have accused the northerners of stalling, warning of violence if the referendum is delayed.

Furthermore, it is all but certain that the Abyei referendum will be delayed as the commission to oversee it has not been established yet. NCP officials have publicly asserted that the oil-rich region will not have its vote held as scheduled as issues of border demarcation and eligibility of voters have yet to be resolved.

"We are committed to on-time referenda in both Abyei and in Southern Sudan. And it is really up to the parties to take the decisions and to take the actions that will make this is a reality. That’s what the Comprehensive Peace Agreement stipulates and that’s what we’re holding the parties to," the U.S. special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration told reporters at the State Department said today.

"With just 79 days remaining until January.......there is just no more time to waste. Between now and the start of registration in mid-November, the Southern Sudanese Referendum Commission must finalize voter registration procedures, it must hire and train and deploy over 10,000 registration workers. The voter registration materials, which should be delivered into Sudan in the next few days, must be distributed to all the registration sites. In addition, domestic and international monitors must be positioned to oversee this process, to guard against manipulation," he added.

The U.S. official said that Washington in the coming period "[will] be watching the Government of Sudan to ensure they transfer necessary funds to the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, that they grant required visas to international monitors and aid workers, that they protect the Southerners who are now living in the North".

Gration underscored the importance the U.S. attaches to next week’s meeting on Abyei between the NCP and SPLM in Addis Ababa following the failure of the first round.

"The parties must be prepared to come to Addis with an attitude of compromise. The entire world is watching and will make judgments based on how the parties approach these talks, on how they act in the next couple of months.

Last year the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) redrew the boundaries of Abyei, ceding key oilfields to north Sudan but gave the South most of the land including Abyei town which has huge areas of fertile land and one significant oilfield. The borders have yet to be demarcated to comply with the court’s verdict because of threats levelled by the Misseriya.

The SPLM has interpreted the ruling as meaning that the cattle-herding Misseriya tribe have no right to vote in areas assigned by the PCA to the Dinka Ngok.

However, the Misseriya vowed not to allow the vote to take place even if they have to resort to force unless they are allowed to participate.

The NCP and SPLM have yet to agree on contentious post-referendum arrangement for South Sudan including border demarcation, wealth sharing, water, citizenship and national debt. All these issues are considered extremely contentious and it is not clear what is the status of discussions between the two sides on these items.

Samantha Power, a National Security adviser at the White House, revealed that there are international efforts to help both sides resolve these technical issues.

"Norway has taken the lead in offering technical advice on oil revenue sharing, given its deep expertise in that area. And the UK is helping with international discussion on eventual debt relief and they are facilitating some of the border demarcation discussions, given their history in Sudan and familiarity with the maps and borders of the past," Power said at the press conference.

"It is impossible to overstate the degree of high-level attention being given to Sudan at the White House," she told the briefing, adding the administration was making "a full court press" to ensure the votes take place peacefully.

Power further said that U.S. president Barack Obama receives at least three weekly briefings on the issue from Denis McDonough, a senior official who was on Friday named deputy national security advisor.

In Khartoum, U.S. Senator John Kerry said at the outset of his visit which started on Friday that his country wants a "new relationship" with Sudan and would offer Khartoum immediate concessions if it holds the referendums peacefully.

"I say this to the leaders in the north that President Obama would like to find the way forward for a new relationship with Sudan," Kerry, chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

He said Washington had already offered Sudan incentives, including a possible easing of economic sanctions.

"I think that people have a right to expect that if there is full cooperation and a referendum that is carried out appropriately, according to international standards, I think there ought to be an immediate reactive step of some kind."

But he added: "If people choose the wrong road there are many other options available to us to be able to ratchet up sanctions."

The United States has asked U.N. officials to brief the Security Council on Monday on peacekeeping preparations in Sudan including Darfur, and is stepping up contacts with aid organizations to evaluate what might happen after the votes.


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  • 23 October 2010 08:42, by Anyang

    Much of appreciation goes to the US administration for their committement to see Southern Sudan(goss) through , what people of good will like " George Cloony" has described as the " a dangerous cloude coming" in few day from now, therefore it’s vitally importance that, the referendum for the people of Southern Sudan goes off on time, free, fair and most importantly without delay or re-negotiation .

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    • 23 October 2010 09:12, by James Deng Dimo

      Bravo US administration for your firm stand with South Sudan, we need such a context illumination formula to prostrate us a momentum from any lives concern people like you.
      Our newest Country in Africa after independent with not thrown your strongly consideration of our independent case far.
      United State of America will be next to our lion’s chair.

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    • 23 October 2010 18:06, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

      Bravo!! Bravo!! U.S,

      I am very pleased with the government of United States of America for her full force to support referendum as scheduled.

      I am hoping to see that your pledge reaches the climax of referendum.

      Many thaanks to you once more!

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  • 23 October 2010 10:05, by Adam

    Dear Southerners,

    It has been stated million times by SPLA/M and NCP, the UN, AU and the US that referendum will be on time. The Referendum Commission has already published the timetables. The VP of the South even went further saying that the GoSS will make funds available (if) the GoNU fails to do so. The West led by the US and the EU should now concentrate on helping the Commission to implement the necessary steps. Funds, training, pulic awareness and deployment of international and local observation teams are decisive. Those who dishonor their commitment in Nivasha (2005) to support the CPA and flush funds to develop the South should not behave irresponsibly this time. We need actions, not political or diplomatic shows.

    It is also very critical that all the procedure should be tightened to ensure peace, freedom and transparency of the referendum processes including the participation of all parties who have the right to take part. South-South Dialogue outcomes were only declarations which need to be seen on the ground. This is urgent and very important.

    As for Abyei issue, I earlier suggested that both NCP and SPLA/M should leave local chiefs resolve their differences as they have been doing for years and decades. Let us remember what Miserriyah did with their brethrens Dinks Ngok in 1905. It was as natural and so wise. Please refer to the British Archives and read history. Let Abyei be Abyei and both GoSS and GoNS should obliged themselves to develop the area and leave the oil for Abyei people – if not all 50% at least. Citizens of Abyei should be both Southerners and Northerners with full rights.

    Frankly speaking, the future is so foggy and fuzzy that SPLA/M cannot deal with the consequences of the separation of the South in isolation of the other Southern political and civic organizations. One should not dream of HEAVEN if the same mistakes made at Nivasha by NCP and SPLA/M are repeated again (cancelling the role of the “other”).

    What the US is trying to do is to conduct an on-time fare referendum that meets the international standards. Please let us make sure that the referendum is conducted in peace, freedom and in the right technical procedure. Not the North, unionist Southerners, the West or the International community would accept the results, if the referendum is tampered with by the NCP or the SPLA/M or whatever.

    Our people deserve to live in peace after more than 50 years of wars and unrest that jeopardized the scarce chances of development and prosperity (CPA was one of the most serious historical chances wasted). We need real help from the international community, but that won’t be possible if we’re so divided like what we’re. The world won’t be able to help those who fail to help themselves.

    LET the poor, the needy, the sick and the underdeveloped true people decide their future. Let war lords enjoy what they have already stole and let us alone (OR!).

    Down with all manipulators and dream crushers.

    Adam Milawaki, Kansas City

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  • 24 October 2010 06:05, by bior angeth

    Thank to U.S for rejecting referendum delay. Six years are enough for referendum to be done on time. Let no one misconceive U.S and becomes angry. U.S is neutral to both sides North and South Sudan. It wants to end CPA peacefully which will result to success of Sudan in general.

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    • 24 October 2010 19:12, by humanbeing

      thank you international communties for focus on referedum of south Sudan, the war in Sudan has been taking many lives of it citizens for past years, this is good time to stop more death of people if referedum is conduct with high monitor by international community. let peace be in Sudan.

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  • 24 October 2010 06:25, by Young Nation

    Dear Sudanese and non-Sudanese,

    Negotiation on post-referendum issues between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and members of Northern Sudan’s National Islamic Party especially on the future of oil is not whether the petroleum found in Sudan Sudan is to be shared or divided between the two portions of Sudan, North/South. The correct debate or dialogue that Sudanese and non-Sudanese alike should be engaged in is how the oil in the South should be traded from 2011 onward. The precise and meaning argument which I think is free from political distortion is whether the current Southern oil should continue to be shifted to internation market through Port North Sudan or should Southern Sudan pursue alternative route.

    If the oil in the South is to be exported to global market through Port Northern Sudan, what percentage/s, not 50-50 should be given to Northern Sudan just as what percentage/s should go to Kenya in case the South decided to transport its oil throught Lamu or Mombasa? This formula is not call wealth sharing. It is rather call mutual economic undertsnading between the sovereign States of Southern and Northern Sudan.

    Young Nation is a student of International Relations/Political Science at The University Of Queensland, Australia

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