News / Africa

    Optimism, But No Deal, at Summit on Sudan Referendum

    An East African regional summit on Sudan has ended with no deal between north and south on key disputes threatening a referendum on southern independence. But the two sides did agree to keep talking as time for a deal runs short.

    Five heads of state and one possible future head of state gathered at a posh hotel Tuesday to see what could be done to ensure the success of southern Sudan's January 9 independence referendum.

    The vote is one of the final pieces of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended a 20-year civil war that killed an estimated two million people.

    A summit communique urged north and south to "expeditiously resolve" remaining differences, including how to arrange a separate referendum on whether the oil-rich Abyei region goes north or south in the event of secession.

    Briefing reporters after the meeting, Kenya's ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, Monica Juma, said a deal on Abyei appears close under the guidance of a high-level panel led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

    "Both parties have provided assurances they will engage with this matter, difficult as it might be, and the general sense is there is a commitment to deal with the Abyei, and we believe it is going to be resolved, frankly," said Juma.

    Diplomats say the real summit business was done on the sidelines. There, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and his first vice president, southern Sudanese leader Salva Kir, met with leaders, mediators and diplomats trying to help broker a deal.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi emerged from an hourlong meeting with the two principals saying the difficult details of a deal on Abyei are likely to emerge from the Mbeki panel within days.

    "We didn't get into the details of the discussion on Abyei," he said. "We expect the panel to lead the negotiations on Abyei sometime this week.  What we tried to create was the right environment for the negotiations on Abyei to make progress, and I believe we made quite a lot of progress in creating the right environment."

    In a separate interview with Reuters this week, Mr. Meles warned of what he called "ghastly consequences" for Africa if north and south Sudan return to war. He said all out war was "possible, but not inevitable."

    Optimism, But No Deal, at Summit on Sudan Referendum
    Optimism, But No Deal, at Summit on Sudan Referendum
    Speaking to VOA Tuesday, the Ethiopian leader said if the two sides could find their way through to signing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, they can solve the Abyei dispute, too.

    "Yeah, Abyei is a tough nut to crack, but it's not as tough as the overall peace issue of the south," he said. "If we have succeeded in cracking that nut, there is no reason Abyei could not be cracked.  But it takes some doing. It's not going to be easy. But I think there is a way around it."

    African diplomats close to the negotiation process say the focus of the talks will shift back to Sudan within days, as the Mbeki panel unveils its Abyei proposal. Kenya's acting foreign minister, George Saitoti, said Monday there is still a window of about 10 days in which to reach a deal that would allow the referendum process to go ahead smoothly.

    Kenya called this regional summit last month, but had to postpone it and move it out of Nairobi after the International Criminal Court requested that President Bashir be arrested.  The ICC wants to try the Sudanese leader on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

    The venue was switched to Addis Ababa because Ethiopia is not a member of the ICC, and under no obligation to arrest Mr. Bashir.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.