Photo: Wikimedia Commons
On 9th July 2011, the nation of South Sudan will finally become a State.
Having been part of the Republic of Sudan for more than five decades, the South Sudanese population will now have the opportunity to govern and fend for themselves – albeit in a region mired in conflict and uncertainty.
Though immeasurable challenges lie ahead, the people are optimistic.See the Slide Show >>> Evolution Of The Republic Of South Sudan
“We want to build South Sudan to be the best in the region and the world,” said soon-to-be Vice-President Riek Machar.
“This is where the centre of Africa is. We will build an airport in South Sudan where South Sudan can be the hub of the African countries and the world just like Dubai and Singapore.”…There is no reason why we should not be the best of the best in the region and the world. We have resources and we will utilise the resources to benefit our nation.”
The past six years has been a long wait for the South Sudanese population. In 2005, leaders from the Khartoum central government of Sudan (representing the north) and the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (representing the south) signed the Naivasha agreement, bringing an end to a decades-long civil war.
As part of the agreement, a referendum was held at the beginning of this year to determine the status of southern Sudan. From January 9th to the 15th, 98.83 per cent of the southern Sudan population voted to form a new country, the Republic of South Sudan, which will be the 193rd country inducted into the United Nations.
The new capital city of Juba will be the venue for celebrations estimated to cost around US$90 million. More than 2,000 foreign dignitaries are expected to turn up in Juba, including South African President Jacob Zuma, UN Secretary-General Ban Kim Moon, and several delegates from the US such as Susan Rice and Colin Powell.
But amidst the celebratory mood, some key issues still remain unresolved. Although Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will be at the ceremony on Saturday, his presence belie the fact that disagreements still remain between the soon-to-be separated nations and are unlikely to go away anytime soon.
One of the biggest debates between the two nations has been over the contested border region of Abyei. Barely a month ago, Abyei was the scene of fresh armed clashes with both parties refusing to cede control over the region. Although a referendum for Abyei had been scheduled for the beginning of this year, it has since been postponed indefinitely. As a result, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a 4,200-strong Ethiopian peacekeeping force to the region in order to monitor the situation.
Another highly volatile region is that of Southern Kordofan. At least 73,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks due to fighting between northern and southern forces, with neither side claiming responsibility. Southern Kordofan will remain in Sudanese control after the split, though pro-southern groups in the region have been in constant conflict with the Sudanese government troops.
“There is no relation between the government in Juba and the SPLA in the Nuba Mountains or anywhere in the north,” said SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer. “If the north attacks them, it will be another situation like Darfur, with the north attacking their own people.” Read the rest of this post on EconomyWatch: South Sudan: From Nationhood to Statehood
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