Expectations and Implications: A Discussion on the Southern Sudan Referendum

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 6, 2011

The United States continues to urge the parties to fully implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The January 9, 2011 referendum on self-determination for Southern Sudan is a cornerstone of the CPA. The U.S. supports the CPA parties as they make preparations to conduct a peaceful referendum that reflects the will of the Sudanese people on January 9.

Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley spoke about the implications of the referendum with Major General (Ret.) Scott Gration, the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan. Special Envoy Gration said, "This is a really big deal because this vote gives the Southern Sudanese the opportunity to decide whether they want to be united as they have been since 1956, or to choose independence."

The Special Envoy continued, "...I'm very pleased that, in fact, we are poised, and there really is no technical reason why we can't have this referendum. Sure, there's things that might come up at the end, but right now we're five days away, and it looks to me like this will come off and start on the 9th. And it will continue for seven days, and then there will be a process where the votes are counted, we make sure that we have the 60 percent turnout, and then we'll get an official result sometime after that, something maybe in the last week in January, the first week of February, at which time we'll know what the Southern Sudanese have decided.

"What we're looking for is not the outcome, though, P.J. We're looking to make sure that there's a process where the people have an opportunity to express their free will, a process that happens on time, that happens peacefully, and that is transparent. Because in the end, the international community, along with the people of the North and the South, have to say 'Yes, this really is the will of the people and we'll accept the results'."

You can watch the video of Assistant Secretary Crowley's conversation with Special Envoy Gration in the player above or read the transcript here. For the latest status of referendum preparations, please visit www.state.gov.



marco c.
January 6, 2011

Marco C. in Italy writes:

Mrs Hillary R.Clinton and Mr President Bill Clinton

January 7, 2011

Samson M. in Cameroon writes:

I think that this referendum is the best way that we can have in that country now.

Tribals oppositions are ones of these problem for wich there is often no solution. So the referendum is the occasion fotr people of southern sudan to make a choice.

About implications the independance of southern sudan could cause a redefinition of the security situation in the subregion knowing that rebels who act in Chad are located in southern sudan and even have a strong support there. So if at the end of referendum the people vote for independence then we must expect changes in the coming years in theb situation in CHAD and Central African Republic.

That is my point of view.

New Mexico, USA
January 7, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Scott & PJ,

You guys remember Apollo 11 and the moment of lift off?

Well, millions of parts working in coordination got us to the moon, and all the hard work putting Apollo together paid off as global heros returned safe.

A lot of folks were holding their breath the whole time.

It's all in the prep work in getting to the point where Sudan can find lasting peace, and whatever happens with millions of people voting , parts of the vehical to getting where they want to go in peace; you got this to the launch pad in time for that window of opportunity.

It's taken just about as long and as with similar dedication as Apollo. That's my comparitive analysis.

Therefore, it is my hope the passengers will enjoy the ride, make discoveries, and bring home something for the whole world to study.

And as you count this down and we may be witness to the birth of a nation, I just want to reflect on the fact that we are part of that process because of who we are, and what we do as a nation.

After all, being in construction for as long as I have, I believe it to be self-evident that we are a nation of nation builders inspiring others to become such for themselves.

Nothing political about that. It just is.

Good luck with the launch on the 9th, and many happy returns.

That's one small vote for a human, one giant leap for a nation.



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