Still uncertain path for Sudan
Nearly 99 per cent of the population in South Sudan voted for independence in last month’s referendum. The Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has said that he accepts the result. The US leader Barack Obama has called the referendum “successful and inspiring”.
Redie Bereketeab, NAI researcher and Sudan expert, is the referendum a success?
– It is too early to say, the outcome was pretty much known beforehand. It is when the parties start negotiating how the separation shall be implemented that things might start getting difficult. Especially when it comes to the important area Abyei they might find it hard to come to an agreement. Not only will the governments in the North and South have to agree but also the ethnic groups Dinka Ngok and Misseriya, who have previously taken up arms.
Why does the US play such an important role?
– Many people in the North are very discontent with president Bashir’s handling of the situation, they feel that he has given up South Sudan too easily. At the same time the US and Great Britain are using both carrot and stick to make Bashir comply with result of the referendum. The US could in this case remove Bashir from the list of people considered to support terrorism. The US and Great Britain could also start acting in the UN Security Council to achieve a suspension of the prosecution against Bashir for war crimes. Then he would no longer risk being handed over to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.