The President of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan has reportedly said that there is a real chance the results of the 2011 referendum on the future of South Sudan will lead to secession from the north.<!-- IMAGE -->
Salva Kiir, who heads the Christian and animist south, reportedly made the comment Sunday to the ongoing conference of 20 Sudanese political parties in the Southern Sudan capital, Juba.
Fouad Hikmat, the African Union and Sudan advisor to the International Crisis Group said President Kiir's statement was probably motivated by what the South sees as the lack full implementation of the CPA.
"He is talking about…the southerners of South Sudan might most probably decide in the referendum to go for separation. And he's saying this because he feels that the major partner in the government of national unity is not helping him in the total implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," he said.
Hikmat said the South Sudan leader also told the Juba conference that any unity between the North and South must add value to the current status of the South.
"What I heard him saying today is that unity they (the south) don't mind to think about it. And he raised a very significant question. He said what kind of unity? Is it unity to maintain the status quo of Sudan of the last years which didn't address all the grievances and didn't allow political accommodation for all the Sudanese? If that is the unity then it is not attractive for them," Hikmat said.<!-- IMAGE -->
He said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) was invited but did not attend.
"Everybody was invited, including the rebel groups and so on. But the NCP unfortunately did not attend and also the DUP (the Democratic Unionist Party). And so this is really unfortunate because it is an opportunity because this is not about regime change. This is about trying to save Sudan from implosion because very clearly Sudan is moving toward a very dangerous situation," he said.
Hikmat said President Salva Kiir's comment does not threaten the peace process in Sudan.
"It's not because it is part of the peace process. At some point they (the South) are going to determine their status whether they go for unity or separation. It is not in violation, but it is actually total implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," Hikmat said.
He said the first day of the conference made substantial progress.
"Today (Sunday) was the opening session when all the people were invited, including the observers from the international community. And every head of the political party presented his position. And so far everybody thinks that this first session was very successful," he said.
Hikmat said participants were divided into five working groups dealing with five different issues which the committees will start to deliberate on beginning Monday.He said the committees would meet probably Tuesday to present their recommendations.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) calls for national elections in Sudan next year, followed by a referendum in 2011 on the future status of the south.<!-- IMAGE -->