The next 18 months are crucial in Sudan. Copious challenges confound the Sudanese and international actors who are trying to prepare a national election set to take place next spring. Once that hurdle is overcome, the people of southern Sudanese will vote in a referendum to decide whether Sudan will remain united or split into two. Given the history of war between North and South and the many logistical questions that still need to be answered – border demarcation, wealth-sharing, just to name two highly explosive issues – the need for international attention and high-level international engagement in Sudan is more important than ever.
In a Q&A with AllAfrica.com this week, John Prendergast and Omer Ismail talked about the challenges facing Sudan and explained why, having working on promoting peace in Sudan for the last two decades, they are concerned that the Obama administration’s approach is headed in the wrong direction.
A key quote from Omer:
[A]fter the CPA [was signed in 2005] the government of Sudan found a break. They took the army and concentrated on Darfur. What is frustrating is, after seven months with all the rhetoric of the campaign, nobody is doing anything close to what they have promised they were going to do. After the U.S. presidential election, they were shaking in Khartoum. Very nervous! But nothing happened. Now, they’re emboldened because there’s no coherent policy. General Gration is trying his best. But you need people who really know Sudan, who engaged through the years.
Read the full Q&A here.