• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Jubilant Celebrations Mask Difficult Tasks for Southern Sudan

    The ballots have been tallied and the results are in: Southern Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for independence from the government in Khartoum. With a total turnout of 97 percent and 99 percent of voters casing their ballot in favor of secession, southern Sudan is on its way to becoming the world’s newest country.

    Yesterday, President Obama congratulated the southern Sudanese on “a successful and inspiring” referendum. The symbolism of the event is remarkable: After decades of war and marginalization by the north, southern Sudanese have finally achieved self-determination. Furthermore, the referendum was largely conducted without major incident. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has acknowledged the will of southern Sudan and has welcomed amicable relations with its former adversary in the future.

    Unfortunately, there is plenty of cloud surrounding this silver lining. Sudanese troops are still stationed along disputed border areas. This past weekend, 50 people were killed by Sudanese soldiers along the border in Makalal. Ongoing issues concerning border demarcation, citizenship, debt negotiations, conflict in Darfur, infrastructure and development in the south, and the establishment of a stable government in Juba will take a long time to reconcile.

    Though the turmoil in Sudan was largely neglected by the Obama Administration until a few months before the referendum, Washington is making up for lost time. The United States continues to be the largest contributor to Sudan, having given $6 billion since the Bush Administration aided in the creation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement five years ago. The Obama Administration has developed an agenda for U.S. engagement with Sudan up to the south’s official independence on July 9. However, the Obama Administration should keep contingency plans ready should the situation deteriorate. It should also devise plans for relations after July 9 that take account of a series of possible outcomes ranging from the ideal to the disastrous.

    Today’s celebration in the streets could quickly turn into instability and conflict tomorrow, and the United States should be ready to respond if the need arises.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.