Peace must remain in Southern Sudan for Water for Sudan to continue drilling water wells that save lives.
Peace is inextricably linked to Southern Sudan’s referendum for independence, to be held on January 9, 2011, now less than six months away. Six months after that Southern Sudan could be the planet’s newest nation. Around the world increasing attention is being paid to the tenuousness of successful implementation of the referendum, given the scant preparation to date, the critical issues remaining to be resolved, and the lack of time.
- The United States, Britain and Norway issued a joint statement that they are "deeply concerned" about Sudan. Read the full article.
- US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “What we do in the next three to six months, I believe, will determine the course of this region for the next three to six years, and so it's very important that we get this right." Read the full article.
- Even China, often silent on issues in Sudan where it has significant oil operations, is calling for action towards maintaining peace. "We hope relevant sides will listen to the African Union, the League of Arab States and countries concerned, and play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in Sudan and the region," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. Read the full article.
Expression of concern and words of support will not ensure peace.
Nor will they ward off resumption of full scale civil war, putting millions of lives at risk. Today, twenty-six activist groups jointly released a report detailing specific actions the US, the European Union, the African Union, and other Guarantors of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) can take to facilitate successful completion of the peace process mandated in the CPA. Read the full article.
Some progress is being made.
Leaders from Northern and Southern Sudan began formal negotiations on July 10th on issues including oil revenues, borders, and citizenship. The leaders said they would consider forming a confederation or a common market if southerners choose to declare independence in the forthcoming referendum.
In a detailed public statement on what Sudan might look like after the vote, they told reporters they were considering four options suggested by an African Union panel led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
In one option "we considered the possibility of the creation of two independent countries which negotiate a framework of cooperation which extends to the establishment of shared governance institutions in a confederal arrangement," said Mbeki, who spoke at the launch of negotiations in Khartoum.
The other options, he said, were for two separate countries with shared "soft borders that permit freedom of movement for both people and goods; total separation with citizens needing visas to cross the border; and continued north-south unity, if southerners choose that option in the referendum." Read the full article.
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