News / Africa

    US Envoy to Sudan Calls for Oil Deal Before Referendum

    U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration outlined challenges ahead of next year's referendum at an event in Washington
    U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration outlined challenges ahead of next year's referendum at an event in Washington

    President Barack Obama's special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration says he believes an oil deal is needed before a scheduled January referendum on independence for the south takes place. The vote is the central part of a peace agreement that was signed in 2005 to end the decades-long north-south Sudanese conflict.

    Gration says it is crucial for the government in Khartoum and authorities in southern Sudan to come to broad terms on how to share oil resources, with most of the oil in the south, and most of the infrastructure in the north. "This is going to have to be negotiated, number one, because both sides need foreign exchange, but number two, I do not think we will have a referendum unless this issue is resolved," he said.

    He said there should be in his words "a win-win" with both sides profiting from oil wealth. He spoke late Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington before dozens of dignitaries, scholars and aid workers.

    Gration admitted there were many challenges for the referendum process, in particular in the oil-rich Abyei region. The flashpoint area on the border between north and south is scheduled to hold a separate vote on its future status.

    Gration said there was lots to tackle for President Obama's diplomatic team in the next few months, including helping with border demarcation, as well as preparing for the possibility of a new African state.

    "That is what our job is right now, to be proactive to do these things, to make sure this does not end up in a disaster because as we know in the south, we have lost millions of lives, in Darfur, hundreds of thousands, and the future, unless, we get very proactive, it could have disastrous results that pale those other numbers," he said.

    Gration has also been trying to help bring peace in Sudan's Darfur region, but expressed disappointment in recent diplomatic setbacks as well as in a resurgence of violence and the difficult plight of the millions of displaced.

    His update on Sudan policy came one day after the International Criminal Court in The Hague added three genocide counts to the charges against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly orchestrating violence this past decade in Darfur.

    "The charges of genocide are additive to the indictment that President Bashir already faces and the United States supports President Bashir to be responsive to the request of the ICC and will continue to do that. As to how it affects my job, I am going to push forward to help in any way that I can," he said.

    Gration said it would not have an impact on his overall goal of trying to help give current and future generations in both north and south Sudan a prosperous and peaceful life.

    Mr. Bashir, who was re-elected to a new five-year term earlier this year, has refused to recognize the court's authority and says he will not turn himself in for trial.  He has denied the charges, and says he is the victim of a western-led conspiracy against him and his country.

    Mr. Gration heads back to Khartoum later this week for a series of multilateral meetings on a number of issues, including renewed efforts to reach a negotiated peace for Darfur and progress on the many lingering north-south issues.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    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 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 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 Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    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 New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    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 Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.