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from The Great Debate UK:

Sudan: Preparing for a peaceful southern secession

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francois_grignon_apr09_206[1]- François Grignon is Director of the Africa Program at the International Crisis Group. the opinions expressed are his own. -

Four years ago, the Sudanese people were promised a brighter future. A peace deal had finally ended the two-decades-long civil war between north and south, which killed more than two million people and devastated the south. But today, that bright future is looking decidedly tarnished, and Sudan is sliding towards violent breakup.

At the core of the current political crisis are delays in implementing key benchmarks laid out in the 2005 deal, known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The referendum on independence for the South, a key pillar of the arrangement, is due in January 2011. Before that referendum takes place, Sudan must hold national elections. These are now set for April 2010.

But President Omar al Bashir’s government has failed to pass key democratic reforms promised by the Agreement, and without these reforms, there is no way the results of the elections will be accepted and offer a milestone for the peace process.

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