SPLM studying possible Obama policy shift on Sudan
The decision-making organ of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has been discussing what an Obama presidency portents for Southern Sudan.
“It’s something that needs SPLM leadership to review. We know there will be no big changes but again it is something that needs to be closely monitored,” Salva Kiir, the Party’s chairman, told about three dozen delegates converged for the special session last week.
US President-Elect Barack Obama has shown no signs of shifting the American gaze on Sudan but that has not stopped Sudan’s ex-rebels from mulling over possible changes in the American policy towards Sudan.
Elected November 4 as USA’s 44th president, Obama, will be sworn in on January 20, inheriting the Sudan foreign policy challenge from George W. Bush.
For all his foreign policy failures, from Latin America to the Middle East, President Bush’s administration was instrumental in Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended two decades of war. All parts of the agreement – signed in Nairobi in 2005– must be fully implemented by 2011. But there are problems which will be food for thought for the Obama administration.
Kiir says implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains a serious challenge.
For instance, the borders are not demarcated, putting elections in the balance. The problems in the contested oil-rich Abyei area are not fully resolved.
“We have the problem of Darfur, where peace is needed, and the Eastern Sudan peace agreement is not going well and the situation is rather deteriorating, plus the humanitarian situation in Darfur,” Kiir told the delegates.
Obama will also have to handle the complications posed by the Internal Criminal Court’s move to order for the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir’s answer, at the Hague, charges of crimes against humanity.
“This is something that still haunts Sudan,” Kiir said, adding that “it’s not the topic that we will concentrate on, knowing that we cannot not react or do anything in advance before we know what is going to happen.”