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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs