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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More