Thursday, November 25, 2010

South Sudan vote is 'Time bomb'

Sudan is a "ticking time bomb" in the run-up to a scheduled January vote on independence for the country's oil-rich south, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said.

Clinton says that it was “inevitable" that the south would vote to break away and form an independent state.

She told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that the US, the African Union and other international partners are trying to ensure the vote goes smoothly.
She added that the south is not quite capable of summoning the resources and the north has been preoccupied and is not inclined to do it.

The referendum would be the capstone of a 2005 peace agreement between the government in Khartoum and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the main opposition group in the south.

She said that "The real problem is, what happens when the inevitable happens and the referendum is passed and the south declares independence," Clinton said. "What happens to the oil revenues? ... This is going to be a very hard decision for the north to accept."

SPLM officials have held a number of recent meetings with their counterparts in Khartoum to discuss the vote.

Officials from the south have been pessimistic about the outcome of those meetings: Yasir Arman, a senior member of the SPLM, accused the north of trying to "buy time" and delay preparations for the vote, according to the Sudan Tribune.

Experts have been warning that the outcome of the referendum would take the country back to the chaos but Yet despite gloomy warnings from outside, there is an incredible sense of optimism and expectation on the streets of Juba.

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