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Sudan Update

2011 July 8
by sfcg

Above, an elderly woman displaced from the town of Abyei stands on an airstrip in nearby Agok during an emergency food distribution by the World Food Program. Recent fighting in Abyei, an oil-rich area which straddles the north and the south, has displaced an estimated 112,800 people. (Tim McKulka/UN Photo)

Tomorrow, July 9th, South Sudan will officially become an independent nation and to ensure peace and stability in the world’s newest country, The UN Security Council has approved the deployment of a new peacekeeping force consisting of 7,000 peacekeeping troops and 900 international police in South Sudan.  The new mission will support the new South Sudanese government in its political transition, establishing state authority, and other issues of governance.

Conflict continues, however, in the volatile border region of South Kordofan, where fighingt and bombings are still being reported.

President Omar Al-Bashir has officially thrown out the South Kordofan accord, signed in Addis Ababa between the Sudanese government’s National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).  The deal would have facilitated a peaceful demobilization or integration into the SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) of SPLM fighters in South Kordofan, as well as made the SPLM a legitimate political party in the north.  President Bashir said earlier this week that he would continue ordering SAF military operations in South Kordofan until the state is “cleansed” of rebels.

Time Magazine has an interesting article on lessons that South Sudan can take from Timor-Leste (where SFCG recently opened an office) to ensure sustainable peace and prosperity; one of which is not to underestimate the legacy of violence:

“In places where violence has ruled people’s lives for decades, abrupt peace can become a vacuum that sometimes fills back up — with more violence.”

Search will be actively working to strengthen civil society and good governance within the country, in the hopes that the its first steps will be peaceful ones.

Extra:

Foreign Policy has a beautiful photo essay of the new country on the eve its independence that is worth checking out.

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