The Sudanese government is dispatching a delegation to Washington in mid-April for talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World bank on ways to obtain relief from the country’s crippling debt.
State media reported that the delegation will include members from the federal government, National Congress Party (NCP) in control of the North and the Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) which rules the South.
The African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led by Thabo Mbeki will also travel with the delegation, according to these reports.
Mbeki is mediating between the NCP and SPLM to help settle a wide range of post-referendum issues such as splitting up the national debt between the North and South, citizenship, wealth sharing, water, border demarcation and the status of Abyei.
South Sudan chose to secede in the plebiscite that took place last January and yielded a near unanimous vote by Southerners in favor of independence. The South will officially become the world’s newest state by the end of the interim period on July 9th.
However, the outstanding issues between the North and South cast doubts over whether the divorce would be a smooth one.
The North insists that South Sudan should bear a portion of the $37.8 billion saying that part of the money was used for development project in the semi-autonomous region.
But the South says that the money was borrowed to finance the northern army to fight southerners in the civil war.
Western countries along with Arab states such as Kuwait have promised to try and help Sudan cancel come of the debt but some officials warned this would be a lengthy process.
The former U.S. special envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios told Sudan Tribune last year that many Western nations struggling with their economic crises at home may be reluctant to forgive Sudan’s debt due to domestic policy concerns.