Global Policy Forum

South Sudan

Sudan oil fields.
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South Sudan received semi-autonomous status as a condition of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  The Agreement was intended to conclude the Second Sudanese Civil War fought between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army from 1983 to 2005.  Reasons for the conflict and the fundamental north-south divide are complex, and include religious, ethnic and cultural tensions.  However, the central cause is more likely the socio-economic marginalization of the South by the government.  There is considerable disparity between the two regions, despite the fact that the majority of Sudan's oil fields are in the south.

The Agreement provides for a referendum on South Sudan's independence.  Voting began on January 9, 2011 and it is widely expected that the outcome will be that South Sudan secedes.  This section will follow the outcome of the referendum, its impact on the region and the viability of South Sudan as an independent nation.



World's Newest Country: South Sudan's Oil Remains a Sticking Point (July 8, 2011)

The Republic of South Sudan will become independent from north Sudan on Saturday July 9, 2011, but, their immediate future will remain inextricably linked through the oil industry.  Hopes for longer term security and peace between the two states depends on how the two governments manage their interactions over oil, which is the lifeblood of both economies. The majority of oil revenues come from oil drilled in the south but oil pipelines are controlled in the north. South Sudan will be born as one of the poorest, most underdeveloped countries and will need to put oil revenues towards insecurity alleviation, education, health, infrastructural development and building participatory institutions. (Christian Science Monitor)

Sudan: Beyond the Euphoria of Southern Independence (July 8, 2011)

South Sudan becomes the world's newest nation on 9 July 2011. Independence is the final step of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended decades of north-south civil war. Though the south had some autonomy from north Sudan following the CPA and was able to commence post-conflict state building, concerns have been raised regarding the transition. Constitutional changes have been forced through, attempts to restrict the media have been made, executive powers have increased, and violence has been used, to resolve conflicts between rebel groups. Attempts should be made to ensure that new institutions are participatory and provide necessary checks and balances on the exercise of power. (IRIN)

Analysis: Rethinking DDR in post-independence Sudan (July 8, 2011)

South Sudan has expanded its armed force, which is estimated at costing more than 50 percent of government’s total expenditure. This is in spite of a two-year-old US$55 million demobilization and disarmament program (DDR) sponsored by international donors. Lydia Stone, author of the Small Arms Survey  report, says that greater security is achieved by keeping soldiers in the army and paying them a salary rather than by demanding that they integrate into a broken society that offers little hope of finding a livelihood. Further, aid workers must be sensitive not to demean the role of women in armed conflict. More than half the DDR caseload consists of women.  (IRIN)

South Sudan, the Newest Nation, Is Full of Hope and Problems (July 7, 2011)

The author celebrates the independence of south Sudan from north Sudan after five decades of guerrilla struggle and two million lives lost. However, the author also highlights the problems the Republic of South Sudan will face. At least half-dozen rebel groups, constituted along ethnic lines, remain. The government is dominated by the Dinka whilst some rebel armies are commanded by members of the Nuer, historic rivals. Poverty, insecurity, illiteracy are issues the newly independent state will have to contend with. It is unclear how profits from oil reserves in the south will be shared between north and south Sudan. However, it will be necessary to put the profits towards insecurity alleviation, education, health and infrastructural development. (New York Times)

North, South Sudan Agree Abyei Troop Withdrawal: UN (May 9, 2011)

The United Nations confirms that North and South Sudan have agreed to start withdrawing unauthorized troops from the flashpoint and oil-rich Abyei border region, a week after clashes there left 14 people dead.  Tensions between the semi-nomadic Arab Misseryia tribe (viewed as allies of the North) and the Dinka Ngok (seen as loyal to the largely Christian and indigenous South) have continued to escalate since January 2011 when the people of Abyei, under the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005, were due to vote in a referendum to decide whether or not to join South Sudan.  This referendum was postponed indefinitely and tensions have since increased. (AFP)

Sudan's North-South Talks in Ethiopia Agree on Seeking Debt Relief (March 6, 2011)

Following the referendum, North and South Sudan are negotiating several items including payment of external debt. Together the two countries owe approximately $35 billion to bilateral, multilateral, and commercial creditors. The southerners have claimed they will not repay debts that were used to finance a war against them. Both sides have pressed creditors for debt forgiveness in an effort to reduce what is a complex and multifaceted situation. (Sudan Tribune)

Analysis: Key challenges for Southern Sudan after split (February 8, 2011)

Results from the 2011 Sudanese referendum showed an overwhelming majority in favour of Southern Sudanese independence. Yet although autonomy is fast approaching, the north's National Congress Party (NCP) and the south's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) need to address vital issues ranging from citizenship to oil lines, before the two areas can formally divide on July 9, 2011. This article evaluates key concerns which must be resolved before Southern Sudanese independence and how long-lasting issues such as debt can be shared between North and South. (IRIN)

Sudan: Referendum Vote Over, Now the Hard Work Begins (January 19, 2011)

From January 9 to January 15 South Sudan voted in the referendum that marked the final stage of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to end the Sudanese civil war. Early reports suggest that the South has voted to secede, but the final results of the referendum have not been released. Additionally, the border region of Abyei has yet to vote because of on-going disputes over whether nomadic tribes have the right to participate in the referendum. The challenge now will be implementing the results of the referendum and determining the status of resource rich Abyei could be contentious. (IRIN)

Al Jazeera Interviews Omar al-Bashir (January 9, 2011)

In this interview Omar al-Bashir discusses the secession of Sudan, the right of its southern citizens to demand self-determination and the peace agreement between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party. Much focus is drawn by Al Jazeera onto the disputed Abyei region which holds the potential to ignite further North-South conflict, as well as issues such as the President's lengthy career in office. (Al Jazeera)

Bashir Rules Out Dual Citizenship for Southerners (January 8, 2010)

With early indications that South Sudan has voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence, the practicalities of creating a new nation must be considered.  One important issue is citizenship.  The president of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, said prior to the referendum that if South Sudan secedes, its citizens will not be able to maintain any citizenship rights in North Sudan, including dual-citizenship.  Discriminatory citizenship rules risk barring some Sudanese from accessing essential services and may give rise to statelessness. (Sudan Tribune)

Southern Sudan's Milestone Referendum (January 7, 2011)

Voting has begun in South Sudan, in a referendum to determine whether the semi-autonomous region will become an independent nation.  For many, the outcome is a done deal, with the secession likely to succeed.  The impact on the region, however, is far more uncertain and may only become apparent in the medium to long term.  South Sudan is faced with extreme poverty and poor infrastructure and must settle more than 190,000 displaced people.  In this context, the viability of an independent nation is questionable. (Council on Foreign Relations)

Sudan: Ban Expresses Concern Over Prospects for Violence (November 16, 2010)

In January 2011, Southern Sudan will be able to vote for independence and observers think it is likely that the South will choose secession. The southern Sudanese leaders have asked for an increase in the number of UN peacekeepers to create a buffer zone in anticipation of the outcome, but the UN will only be able to reinforce its presence in specific areas. Representatives from the Bashir government in the north have stated they are committed to peace, but they have also railed against the upcoming referendum.  Observers are concerned that the vote will cause a return to violence. (

UN Worried Over Sudan Vote Delays (November 16, 2010)

The Security Council is concerned over delays by the government in Khartoum in releasing funding for the January 9 referendum in South Sudan and the oil-rich region of Abyei. Voter registration is underway but there is a huge amount of work to be done over the next 55 days to ensure the vote is not delayed. The referendum is the final phase of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended decades of civil war. Relief agencies are stockpiling supplies in potential hot spots in southern Sudan and the border areas, in preparation for the worst possible outcome of the vote - a return to civil war. (Al Jazeera)

Sudan: Abyei Referendum to be Delayed, say Northern Officials (October 14, 2010)

The forthcoming referendum on the future of Abyei, an oil-rich district claimed by North and South Sudan, will be delayed, according to North Sudanese officials. The referendum was scheduled for January 2011, and the UN is moving peacekeeping troops to the border between North and South Sudan in preparation. Local politicians in the South have responded angrily to the suggestion of delays. Voter registration is a controversial issue which is central to the North's call for a postponement of the referendum. (Open Democracy)

U.S. Begins Diplomatic Effort to Rescue Peace Plan in Sudan (September 15, 2010)

With the referendum on independence for southern Sudan less than four months away, the Obama administration has begun a diplomatic effort to "rescue" the US-backed peace plan. President Obama will meet with two of Sudan's leaders next week at the UN meeting to insure that the referendum runs smoothly. In past meetings at the UN where the future of Sudan was discussed, representatives from South Sudan were not allowed in the discussion. (Washington Post)

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