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Making a difference to war or peace in Sudan , UAE paper
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Jan 6, 2011 - 7:16:10 AM

Making a difference to war or peace in Sudan , UAE paper


Jan 6, 2011 - 09:41 -


WAM Abu Dhabi, Jan 6th, 2011 (WAM) -- All eyes are on Sudan where southerners vote in referendum on Sunday that could lead to the division of Africa's largest country. The vote, which marks the culmination of decades of war and six years of peace, is predicted to produce a Christian south break from historical domination by the Muslim north, commented a UAE daily.

"Doubts clouded the possibility of the vote because of procedural delays and squabbling between northern and southern leaders. There was also fear that a vote for the south to break away could lead to renewed war between northern and southern forces. The fears were mostly allayed by a pledge by Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Beshir on Tuesday that he would respect the outcome of the vote", said Gulf Today in its today's editorial.

"I personally will be sad if Sudan splits. But at the same time I will be happy if we have peace in Sudan between the two sides," Sudanese President said during a rare visit to Juba, the southern capital. "I am going to celebrate your decision, even if your decision is secession." Beshir's words have given rise to optimism about the future relationship of north and south which fought a devastating civil war that lasted 22 years and killed some two million people and displaced over three million others.

Everything seems to be set in place for the referendum, with the body in charge of the process and the UN referendum agency saying all the people need to do is to vote. The US has taken the lead in ensuring that the vote takes place in time. Even after the vote, Washington faces the task of helping the south build a state if it chooses to break away from Sudan, read the editorial.

"US officials are skeptical about the next phase, a tricky six-month transition as the two sides, and how Washington can help to ensure peace between two sides long divided by religion, ethnicity, ideology and oil revenues. No decisions have been made on crucial issues such as borders, citizenship, and division of oil revenues. These disputes could still trigger violence. US President Barack Obama faces a tough challenge", the paper said.

The question remains how much attention Obama could give to Sudan, given other preoccupation with domestic and external issues. He has tough decisions to be made in the war in Afghanistan and the conflict in Iraq as well as over Iran's nuclear programme. He also need to devote himself to delivering on his pledge to have a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem by September this year. The crisis in the Korean peninsula needs an urgent solution, it pointed out.

"There are many more issues that Obama needs to tackle on a priority basis. Sunday's vote in Sudan is indeed a turning point in the quest for peace and stability in the country. The process needs to be nurtured carefully. Obama needs to follow an intelligent and principled approach and would have to be personally engaged in Sudan even after the vote. Indeed, his approach and engagement can help make the difference between war and peace in Sudan", the paper suggested.


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