Obama Scrambles to Save Sudan

Administration risks losing gains of 2005 deal
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2010 7:06 AM CDT
Obama Scrambles to Save Sudan
Many worry war is looming, again.   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Barack Obama came to power promising to help Sudan, and he's been scrambling in recent days to do just that, as the country threatens to backslide into civil war: The US is beefing up its presence in the war-torn country ahead of January's crucial independence referendum, and has doubled America's diplomatic presence of late. But many worry the focus comes too late, and criticize a US effort that's been handicapped by infighting and an absence of high-level attention.

A 2005 peace agreement gave religious and political autonomy to the Christian south until the 2011 referendum, and while polls indicate the south will vote to secede from the Arab Muslim-dominated north, the government and South Sudan have yet to agree on issues like borders and oil revenues—and a delay in the referendum could spark a fresh civil war, reports the Washington Post. The president may become the one who "lost Sudan and the opportunities for peace," says a veteran negotiator. "We're really getting close to the drop-dead date," warns another specialist. Today, at least, there was a bit of good news: An American aid worker was freed after 100 days in captivity in Darfur.
(More South Sudan stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.