The United States has pledged technical and financial support for the referendum of an independent South Sudan amidst fears that civil war, ethic and religious differences, and totalitarianism constitute a direct threat to the future survival of millions of southern people, southern Sudan authorities have said.
According to reports, U.S Vice President Mr. Joe Biden has met and discussed the referendum due next year with President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir, to allay fears of rising tension between the north and south of Sudan, and fears that key issues will not be resolved in time for the referendum.
A semi-autonomous southern region will be given the chance to vote for full independence early next year. If the vote takes place, the people of Southern Sudan would chose to break away from the Arab dominated north, or stay. Analysts say there are no doubts the primary challenges of an independent Southern Sudan is to apply inventiveness and ingenuity in making peace and in solving their economic, social, and political problems.
Mr. Kiir won elections in April to become the first elected president of Southern Sudan. And he is expected to lead the semi-autonomous south to independence. The elections were part of a peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war between the north and south.
US former special representative to the State Department for Sudan had said the people of South Sudan will most likely choose to have their own state either through the referendum or unilaterally, a former US official said.
Sudan is overtly divided into an Islamic north and a Christian south with more than 400 different languages and dialects spoken among Sudan’s 597 ethnic groups.
According to experts, the rise in the 1940s of the nationalist movement and of Sudan’s two major northern political parties further excluded any voice the southern people might have in determining their future. Both parties played into the power struggle between Egyptian and British interests.
Southern Sudan wanted independence from Egypt but Northern Sudan wanted a union between Egypt and Sudan, showing no intention of sharing power with the African south.
Civil war between the north and south broke out in 1955 and continued after Sudan became an independent nation in 1956. Sudan’s succession of northern governments could not bring the conflict under control. Fighting continued until 1972, as policies forcing the south to adopt Arab culture, Arab language, and the religion of Islam, Sudan’s ties to Egypt and Saudi Arabia only intensified.
Mr. Biden met Mr. Kirr in Kenya on the second leg of his [Mr. Biden] Africa trip.