US Aids S. Sudan Secession
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“The United States government, one of their goals now, is to make sure southern Sudan in 2011 is a viable state,” Gatkuoth said. (Washington Times)
12/25/09 — CAIRO — The United States is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the pocket of South Sudan government to help it prepare for secession from the North.”The United States government, one of their goals now, is to make sure southern Sudan in 2011 is a viable state,” Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, representative of South Sudan in Washington, told The Washington Times Friday, December 25.
Washington offers $1 billion in annual aid to South Sudan.
The majority of the money is used to build roads, train police and professionalize a separate army in preparation for the Christian-majority region’s secession in 2011, said Gatkuoth, who also heads South Sudan’s mission to the UN.
Southern Sudanese will vote in a referendum in 2011 on whether to secede from the Muslim north.
The referendum is part of the 2005 north-south peace deal, which ended a two-decade civil war between the north and south.
The accord established an interim period, with a coalition government between the Muslim north and mostly Christian south and the sharing of oil wealth.
Last month, South Sudan President Salva Kiir publicly called for secession from Sudan.
Though southern officials have not concealed their intention to vote for secession, the region still lack the basics of a viable state.
The region is also plagued by tribal clashes, which have killed at least 2,500 people and displaced more than 350,000 others this year.
The International Crisis Group on Tuesday criticized South Sudan police for failing to keep security and end tribal clashes in the region.
Gatkuoth accused the Khartoum government of stumbling efforts of the South to secede.
“I do not think the North is ready to allow the South to go and have its independent state,” he said.
The southern official said that the next 12 months would be crucial in determining the fate of the country.
“In 2010, we either make it or break it,” he said.
“An election can lead to war if you feel cheated.”
The ruling Sudanese National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed Wednesday to review a disputed law on the 2011 referendum.
Parliament has passed the law even though SPLM walked out of the assembly objecting to an amendment allowing southerners living in the north to vote in the January 2011 referendum.
Gatkuoth threatened that the South will take up arms again if Khartoum government tried to postpone the 2011 referendum.