Sudan: July 22, 2002


A follow-up on the Sudanese-SPLA peace deal. The Khartoum government has promised the SPLA that in six years a vote will be held on secession. The deal includes six years of southern autonomy (prior to the vote). The autonomous period frees the south from Islamic law imposed by Khartoum. This new peace agreement does break new ground. The autonomy provision meets many of the southern rebels demands. The peace agreement demonstrates (to the United States) that Khartoum is willing to be something besides a terrorist-harboring, radical Islamist government. The SPLA may also be feeling a resource squeeze since Uganda appears to be living up to its agreement with Sudan to shut down support for the SPLA. Of course, Khartoum has a very bad record when it comes to living up to its promises. A real ceasefire agreement has proven to be illusive there are a lot of rebel organizations and Khartoum-backed Islamic militias that have their own agendas, and those agendas dont include peace. Another difficult problem will be divvying up the oil wealth. The SPLA wants a cut of the petro-dollars, and Khartoum has given no serious indication its willing to deal on that issue. (Austin Bay)


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