News / Middle East

Sudan Referendum Has Implications for Egypt, Analyst Says

Pro-separation activists rallying outside Juba airport in southern Sudan where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrives, 04 Jan 2011
Pro-separation activists rallying outside Juba airport in southern Sudan where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrives, 04 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Southern Sudan on Sunday will begin several days of voting in a referendum to decide whether to secede from the North-based government. Arab nations, particularly neighbors, Egypt and Libya, are uneasy. Neither participated in the Nairobi peace talks which led to the referendum.  Egypt would prefer a loose confederation and had hoped the referendum would be postponed. It blames the government of Omar Bashir for failing to keep the country together and present a more attractive portrait of unity.

Dr. Hamid Eltgani Ali is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo.  VOA’s Cecily Hilleary asked him for his assessment of a north-south divide in Sudan.

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Hamid Eltgani Ali:

Hilleary: What is Egypt’s concern if the South does secede from Sudan, as most analysts predict it will.

Hamid Eltgani Ali
Hamid Eltgani Ali

Ali: Because the Sudan is now in flames. Darfur is another hot place, where killing is still going on. It is possible that the Dafuris may ask for the same treatment. They might ask for self-determination - it is possible.  Eastern Sudan is possible. Nuba Mountains is possible. The Blue Nile is possible.  So these are all hot buttons in Sudan. It’s burning.  It is possible that [the country] could disintegrate. The country could run into chaos.

The solution is that, right now, we have a president that has been indicted by the [International Criminal Court]. He is working for his own interests. He is not looking [out] for the interests of Sudan, nor the neighboring countries of the region. So the only option is, they need to put pressure on Bashir to let it go. And he needs to resign not tomorrow, but today.


North Sudan

  • Leader: Omar al-Bashir
  • Capital: Khartoum
  • Economy: Oil (50% revenue); Agriculture
  • Land mass: 1,865,813 square kilometers
  • Population: 34.3 to 36.5 million
  • Religion: Muslim Majority


South Sudan

  • Leader: Salva Kiir
  • Capital: Juba
  • Economy: Oil (98% of revenue); Agriculture
  • Land mass: 640,000 square kilometers
  • Population: 7.5 to 9.7 million
  • Religion: Mainly Christian and Animist

Hilleary: And, if the region were to catch on fire, to continue your analogy, what then for Egypt? Egypt worries, for example, about a possible influx of migrants from Sudan.

Ali: That is also a concern because, today, the Sudanese people are migrants everywhere, and if the countries start disintegrating - and I’m sure there will be a lot of chaos - where the option is? They got to go to Egypt. It’s the closest place. The borders are easy for people to [cross].

The other thing is about the Nile water. It’s a big concern for Egypt. [The] more people there are in the Nile Basin, the less [is] the Egyptian share of the water.  Right now there is a lot of tension in the Nile Basin countries. That is not going to get better at all.

And the other thing is economic interests. That is, Sudan and Egypt could have a good common integration formula, because there is a good food processing industry in Egypt, while Sudan is a very fertile land and very good for the agriculture industry.

So now, those economic interests will be decimated. Now, we are going to see a lot of poverty and misery in Sudan. We have seen just yesterday, the government has already passed its budget and now they held an overnight session and passed a resolution that is undermining the whole macroeconomic of the country.

Now, we see a lot of inflation, a lot of poverty, and if there is poverty in Sudan why would I want to live there? I would just move to Egypt. So Egypt has the right to all these concerns.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid