Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold
elections next year and a referendum on independence in 2011, but as an old
saying goes, the devil is in the details.
talks between Northern and Southern Sudan on how those votes should be held
have stalled and there's growing concern over the failure to fully implement to
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
That agreement ended over 20 years of civil war.
growing number of observers say they fear the problems raise the risk of
renewed war between the north and the south.
And they warn it could be worse than before.
Johnson, an independent scholar and author of The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars, says he's not surprised by
problems in the current north-south negotiations.
were actually imbedded in the peace talks.
A number of things were left to be resolved later on with no real
mechanism for an international input or a neutral mediator to make sure that
these were resolved in time."
says jump starting the talks won't be easy.
think that we have to look at what are the major priorities in continuing
peaceful resolution. The real priority
is the referendum. I know that a lot of
people say that if the elections don't take place you can't have a
referendum. That's not the case as far
as the language of the peace agreement is concerned," says Johnson.
referendum needs to be a "genuine reflection of the intentions of the people of
the south," he says.
Risk of war
gives several reasons for a growing risk of renewed civil war between the north
been a great deal of resistance on the part of the (ruling) NCP to implement it
(peace agreement) to the letter and on time.
We've seen this in a number of areas where they feel that the
implementation hasn't been going their way.
They are obstructive and try to, in effect, renegotiate the peace agreement,"
Sudanese leaders share the blame, he says.
SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement) has been somewhat disorganized in its administration of the
Southern Sudan. It doesn't show itself
to be committed to full participation in the government of national unity."
says the National Congress Party looks on the CPA as a way of "maintaining the
unity of the country and their predominant political position…. The SPLM sees it as way of going towards
independence for the Southern Sudan."
Affected, but not included
think one of the real problems is that the CPA and the people who negotiated
it, the outside mediators, didn't realize that this was more than just a
north-south problem," he says.
areas of Sudan affected by the civil war have not been fully included in the
peace deal, he says, including the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile in eastern
even if the south does vote to separate, this is going to leave residual
problems in the Sudan, which haven't been really effectively addressed by the
CPA," Johnson says.
Recommendations for success
think it (referendum) has to be run by an international commission….. The voting has got to be supervised
internationally and not just by the two parties. I think that there has to be a resolution
about whether it is going to be just those people living in the Southern Sudan
in 2011 or other Sudanese, southern Sudanese, living outside of the Southern
he says, the ruling party wants to set an "unrealistic" high standard for the
referendum with at least a 75 percent majority needed before independence could
"(It) doesn't follow the spirit of the
CPA. I think a clear majority has to be
the goal for a referendum. But the
question about what it means for the south to separate from the north has to be
clearly defined," he says.