Governing party in South Sudan campaigns for independence
The Sudan People’s People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) announced that it supports a vote for independence. The announcement is significant since the position contradcts the terms of the 2005 peace agreement ending a long and bloody civil war with the north.
In the peace agreement the SPLM had agreed to work with the north’s ruling National Congress Pary to promote unity..Anne Itto, a representaive of the SPLM, said: “Since unity has not been made attractive, we are promoting what our people choose because we are following the people.” When asked what she meant, Itto answered “separation”.
Naturally here comments were unwelcome in the north. A senior NCP official accused Itto of violating the terms in the peace agreement. The official said:”They [the SPLM] are now working for secession regardless of the result of the referendum … The referendum will be nominal, illegal. I do not think that the NCP should recognise any process or any result that comes out of it,” Yasir Arman, from the SPLM northern sector, declined to comment.
The SPLM announcement may cause problems for the referendum process. The referendum is slated to be held on Jan. 9th. Voters will decide whether the southern part of Sudan should be an indepdendent state. The referendum is to be held as part of the 2005 peace agreement ending the long running civil war that is estimated to have killed up to two million people.
Vote organizer say that about 3 million are signed up to vote. Most observers think the vote will favor independence for the south. But there are still issues to be settled even at this late date before the polling can go ahead. THe issues include demarcation of the final border line between the two states. Also sharing of oil revenues is not yet agreed upon nor the status of southerners in the north and northerners in the south. Itto from the SPLM said there had been little progress on these issues.
Itto complained:”We have had several meetings with no success at all, not in security, not in international treaties, not in finance, economic issues, natural resources, not even in citizenship.”If you add all that together it is a clear indication as to how NCP doesn’t want to get to referendum,” Talks are set to resume but the situation is fraught with difficulties. Perhaps the referendum will be delayed. However at least the tfwo sides are talking and civill war is still being avoided. However Ittos public comments will do little to improve the climate of the talks but the north also may be to blame as it seems to be unwilling to reach final agreements on important issues.