Hollywood star George Clooney has joined Delegates from the United Nations Security Council to emphasize the need to avoid war in Sudan as the south prepares to go to the polls in January to vote in a referendum to decide whether to remain in Sudan or separate.
According to reports, George Clooney is apprehensive a war may be looming if proper actions are not taken, thus he is on a tour of south Sudan with US television channel NBC. He [Clooney] has visited a mass grave and spoken to local tribal leaders in South Sudan.
NBC journalist Ann Curry, wrote on her Twitter that Clooney said he “fears a war is coming here [Sudan].”
Clooney adds his weight to the clout of Delegates from Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and 10 other Security Council nations who arrived in the South Sudan capital, Juba, from Uganda.
The delegates had arrived from Kampala were they held talks with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni who pledged support for efforts to make sure the vote is peaceful.
Thousands of children and adults reportedly took to the streets of Juba, for the arrival of the UN ambassadors. “The Referendum Must Be Held On Time,” banners held up by the crowds read.
Political analysts believe the referendum is running behind schedule after the Khartoum controlled Sudanese government announced that the registration for the crucial vote would begin November 14.
Salva Kiir, the vice president of Sudan and leader of the administration that wants to break away, has called the vote date “sacrosanct” and warned of the risk of conflict if it is delayed.
The foreign delegates began a four-day trip to highlight the importance of the referendum, and reiterate the fact that the referendum must be held on time and in peace, and results must be credible.
The delegates are positive the vote will split Sudan into two countries. They [UN delegates] would inspect UN training facilities for South Sudanese police on Thursday before going on to Darfur where the intermittent conflict is causing new concern to the international community.
Deputy chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, Chan Reec said he acknowledged that the vote may be delayed but was confident it would be held.
The international community fears that if the vote is delayed, Kiir’s government could declare unilateral independence, sparking a new conflict.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York ahead of the deployment of delegates from the Security Council that “handled properly, the January ballot could help build a future that improves the lives of all Sudanese. Handled poorly, it could spark conflict with consequences across Africa and beyond.”