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Scenes of jubilation over the results of the referendum on the secession of South Sudan


Citizenship: Concern remains for the many Sudanese living in the border ar- eas, as well as Southerners and Northern- ers based on the “other” side of Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of Southerners remain in Khartoum, but the North has so far appeared reluctant to accept any dual nationality status. Te South would reportedly like people to be able to choose. Borders: Sudan’s North-South border re- mains undemarcated, with progress slow on fixing the boundaries. Negotiations are based on colonial-era maps, showing how the border stood at Sudan’s independence in 1956, but with the frontier crossing oil and mineral-rich areas, the issue is con- tentious. Returnees: More than 180,000 Southern- ers have returned from the North in the past three months, adding pressure to communities already struggling to cope. Major humanitarian and development


problems remain. According to Refu- gees International, 22,000 Southerners are stranded in and around Khartoum, still waiting for transportation to the South. Conflict: Te South proved the critics’ warning of war wrong: the voting period was peaceful. Acceptance of the result by the NCP has allayed fears of North-South conflict. However, tensions remain in the volatile South. Clashes in early February between armed factions in the South’s oil-rich Upper Nile state left over 50 dead, and showed the potential for violence. South Sudan has been accused of hosting Darfuri rebel leaders fighting Khartoum, while the North is accused of backing militias battling the Southern army. Both deny the charges. Economy: Sudan’s economy is struggling, with high demands for foreign currency, rising inflation and a recent slide in the value of the Sudanese pound. Price hikes on basic goods are hitting the poorest the


hardest, while Khartoum remains con- cerned about political unrest, following popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Te two sides must also fix their currency, and decide whether a replacement for the Sudanese pound will be introduced. Ru- mours in early February that the North plans to scrap the pound saw its value plummet, says IRIN. Building a Southern identity: Without a common Northern adversary, many fear fractures within the South. Leaders must work to bring together often dispa- rate groups, including opposition forces and those outside the mainstream SPLM movement. Darfur: Te war-torn western region re- mains a major concern with conflict con- tinuing. Khartoum has pulled out of peace talks and returned to fighting against the only rebels they signed an agreement with, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction of Minni Minnawi. Some fear that the South’s preparations to break away will embolden rebels to increase their demands of Khartoum. Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State: Key battlegrounds in the civil war, these two transitional areas are in the North, but have strong support for the South’s ruling SPLM. Ongoing “popular consultations” set up as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are intended to allow the people to shape their future. However, unlike the South and Abyei,


they do not have a referendum that could allow them to join an independent South. Many of those there who fought with the South during the civil war could be bit- terly disappointed if they feel abandoned in the North. If the preceding IRIN analysis is any-


thing to go by, events in Sudan may repre- sent a watershed that marks a unique and arguably important historical change for Africa and beyond. But long-term success will greatly depend on how the two sides resolve all the above. Te result of the referendum could be said to be Sudan’s “Road to Damascus” – but how far will the new nation travel? Te world will have to wait and see.


New African March 2011 | 33


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