Southern Sudan will vote on secession on 9th January 2011, paving the way for the creation of the world’s newest state. A “yes” vote would also see the city of Juba become the globe’s youngest capital. The referenda will be in two parts – the South will vote on secession, whilst the central atrea of Abyei will vote on whether to join the North or the South.
The Khartoum government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed a peace agreement in 2005 after two decades of civil war. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement has governed relations between North and South for the past five years leading up to the referenda.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met on Friday 15th October with members of a UN panel appointed to oversee the preparations for the referenda. The panel’s chair, Benjamin Mkapa, said: “the hurdles are not insurmountable and I believe the leadership is honourable, willing and very capable of guiding this process to a successful conclusion”.