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f_0022607_18599 - Sudans Moment of Opportunity Major...

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Spring 2011 The Ambassadors REVIEW 5 Sudan’s Moment of Opportunity Major General Scott Gration, USAF (Ret.) United States Special Envoy to Sudan The January 2011 Southern Sudan referendum was a historic step, but Sudan’s most profound challenges lay ahead. ewer than six months ago, many feared that Sudan stood at the brink of disaster. The January 2011 Southern Sudan referendum appeared unlikely to be held on time and had the potential to plummet Sudan back into the cycle of violence and human suffering that characterized much of its past. But no such crisis emerged. Instead, with the support of the international community, the referendum took place on-time in a peaceful and orderly manner. Millions of southern Sudanese cast their ballots without violence or intimidation. International observers judged that the vote was credible and took place in a manner broadly consistent with international standards, and most significantly, the Government of Sudan agreed to respect the results. Instead of facing the worst case scenario that many had projected, the referendum proved a marked success. Amidst conflicts in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire, the leadership displayed by the parties to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provides an example of how cooperation has the potential to lead to peace and stability in a troubled region. The cooperation that has characterized the relationship between the ruling National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the last six months is a marked departure from decades of animosity and distrust, and it is reason for great hope. Following the referendum, Sudan faces an unprecedented opportunity for transformative change. The positive momentum generated by the cooperation exercised in the lead-up to the referendum holds the promise of helping to forge a durable peace and lasting partnership between North and South, as Southern Sudan emerges as an independent sovereign state in July. And Sudan has a historic opportunity to end its isolation and reap the benefits of an improved relationship with the international community. The decisions made in the coming months by the Governments of Sudan and Southern Sudan will have profound implications for the people of Sudan, East Africa, and the world. Continuing the cooperation that led to a successful referendum will be essential as northern and southern leaders work to resolve outstanding issues of the Comprehensive F Source : The World Factbook, 2011
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Spring 2011 The Ambassadors REVIEW 6 Peace Agreement and agree on the arrangements that will characterize their future relationship. Although the South will become independent in July 2011, the future of both
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