On Saturday the world’s newest nation exuberantly celebrated its first independence day. The Republic of South Sudan, an area the size of Texas that is home to eight million people, has finally fulfilled its long-sought goal of freedom and self-determination. Independence however, is just the beginning.
CGD Policy Blogs
This post also appeared on the Huffington Post.
Next week, President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and other global leaders will meet with Sudanese leadership to discuss the upcoming referendum. The stakes are huge. In January, southern Sudanese will vote on whether to secede and launch a new, independent country. It’s hard to imagine them not supporting the breakaway vote given their decades’ long fight for independence. Roughly 2 million people died in that struggle. The multi-million dollar question is – what will Khartoum do? Will they let the referendum happen? Will it be fair and transparent? If so, will they respect the results? The meeting next week will grapple with these critical issues.
Clearly, Khartoum has a lot of lose.