The moment of truth for southern Sudan is just three days away and with the country’s president promising to respect the south’s referendum, the international community is waiting with bated breath for the post-vote repercussions.
About two months ago, I wrote a post about the conflict in Sudan and Darfur after hearing much in the media about a possible re-ignition of conflict in the country. A referendum on January 9, 2011 will allow southern Sudan to vote to become its own independent state.
At the time, there were rumors that President Omar al-Bashir was lobbying support to interfere with this election, not wanting to lose the oil-rich south as part of his unified Sudan. This would result in further war, many aid groups feared. He has apparently had a recent change of heart.
President Bashir visited the region earlier this week and was greeted by crowds hailing placards in support of separation. While he made a last ditch effort to lobby for unity, he claimed to also come with a message of peace.
“While I remain committed to unity as an option, I will be the first to recognize your independence if you opt for it,” Bashir told the parliamentarians of the south in an address Monday.
“We want to show the world that we are civilized people and are ready to disappoint those who are speculating about division and conflict,” he added.
John Kerry, US senator of Massachusetts and member of the senate foreign relations committee, was in Khartoum Wednesday and hailed the president’s comments. “They’re very positive, very constructive, and I think it sets a good stage for the events that begin in the next days.”
Here’s too a peaceful resolution in Sudan that won’t lead to more bloodshed. For a more detailed outline of the country’s history, click here.