With just 128 days to go until southern Sudan votes in a referendum that will likely split the country in two, Sudanese officials and international mediators and stakeholders are entering the final stretch of time in which to stave off potential mass violence that a messy divorce could bring about. In an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, Enough’s John Prendergast describes the influential role that the United States played in helping to usher in the 2005 peace deal that ended the long war between North and South and set the stage for next year’s historic choice.
“This all makes the Obama administration’s efforts in Sudan nothing short of head-scratching,” Prendergast wrote. Well-publicized disagreements on how to implement U.S. policy toward Sudan have undermined the ability of the United States to positively influence preparations for the likely separation and promote peace in the country. Prendergast wrote:
It’s true that internecine battles are par for the course in the shaping of foreign policy. The real problem here is that the decider hasn’t decided. The absence of presidential clarity has left allies confused and the Sudanese regime gleeful.
At last, a decision memo is winding its way through the system to President Obama’s desk. The hope is that in the very near future he will make some clear decisions about U.S. policy. The most pressing question is how the U.S. and the international community can convince the various parties in Khartoum, the South and Darfur to abandon violence.
The full piece is available online by googling “Obama Is Still AWOL on Sudan.”
Photo: President Obama and Sudan Special Envoy Scott Gration (AP)