Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Sudan braces for secession poll trouble

Half a million gain ICRC aid in Somali struggle for survival
Geneva (AFP) Jan 5, 2011 - The Red Cross said Wednesday that it had provided aid to more than half a million people in Somalia in recent weeks, as Somalis struggle for survival in "dire" conditions even away from the fighting. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimated that millions of Somalis were dependent on humanitarian assistance from various sources as a drought added to the crisis wrought by ongoing fighting. "Twenty years of war have left Somalia in a dire state that is steadily getting worse," said Pascal Mauchle, the ICRC's head for Somalia.

"The economic situation is still deteriorating and people struggle for their daily survival, not only in conflict-affected areas but also in major cities in the northern part of the country," he added in a statement. Mauchle underlined that tens of thousands of people had continued to flee the capital Mogadishu in recent months, while food production has fallen and prices of scarce essentials have "skyrocketed" making life unaffordable. The agency and the Somali Red Crescent distributed two month rations of rice beans and oil as well as shelter supplies to about 240,000 displaced or vulnerable people.

Another 300,000 people received blankets, cooking equipment and plastic roofing in the relief operation last month stretching from embattled Mogadishu to Afgoye, as well as cities in the south, centre and northern Puntland. "There were 400,000 people a year ago, 35 percent more people received assistance this time," ICRC spokesman Marcal Izard told AFP. About one quarter of those who received assistance in recent weeks were in Mogadishu, the epicentre of years of bloody internal strife that now pits Islamist groups against forces loyal to a weak transitional government. One-third were outside conflict areas in Puntland and Mudug in the north, said Izard. Priority for the aid was given to disabled people, orphans and households headed by women.
by Staff Writers
Juba, Sudan (UPI) Jan 5, 2011
A last-minute softening of the Khartoum government's rhetoric on the prospect of the Christian-led southern Sudan splitting from the Arab Muslim-ruled north has raised hopes that next week's independence referendum will pass peacefully.

But both sides have been arming with tanks and other heavy weapons in case trouble erupts because the Texas-sized south, which fought a 21-year civil war with the regime until 2005, is widely expected to vote for secession.

Polling starts Sunday and will go on until Jan. 15. Just more than 3.93 million people have registered to vote in the referendum. That's the culmination of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war that began in 1983 and cost some 2 million lives.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a former army commander who led the war against the south, visited Juba, the southern capital, Tuesday and, in an uncharacteristically moderate speech, promised voters he would "congratulate and celebrate with you" should they choose secession.

That was a remarkable shift in tone from Khartoum's recent hostility and threats to delay the referendum and even refuse recognition of the results if they went against Khartoum.

Bashir's conciliatory speech indicated that Khartoum "now appears resigned to the inevitability of a new state arising in the south," the U.S. global security consultancy Stratfor observed.

But Stratfor cautioned: "This does not mean that tensions between the north and south will dissipate suddenly. The breakup of the country will not be smooth, and there will likely be moments where it appears that war could erupt.

"But Khartoum is not preparing for a fight as its first recourse; rather its focus will be on achieving two main objectives in the months ahead: ensuring it obtains a favorable new oil revenue-sharing agreement with the south and staving off a looming political crisis in what will remain of Sudan."

Oil is the vital element in the equation. About 80 percent of Sudan's oil reserves are in the south.

Under the 2005 peace deal, Khartoum, which depends on southern oil, has been getting roughly half of all oil revenues from southern crude exports. But that will have to change.

The south is depending on oil to be the economic backbone of the new state it seeks. But being landlocked, it needs Sudan's pipelines and terminals to get its crude to market.

There has been talk of the south building a pipeline to Kenya's Indian Ocean coast but there are no concrete plans drawn up so that outlet may be years away.

The south has the option of cutting off the oil flow to the north if Khartoum doesn't agree to significantly increase Juba's share of the revenue. But that would hurt the south more than Khartoum.

Bashir's regime has repeatedly threatened war if other key issues such as border demarcation, foreign debt obligations and the status of the oil-rich Abyei region, which straddles the current north-south boundary, weren't settled before the referendum.

These remain unresolved and unless they're swiftly attended to once voting ends, they could mushroom into major obstacles to peaceful coexistence.

Bashir is grappling with a political opposition in the north that sees political opportunities to attack him through a southern vote for independence.

The opposition is demanding the ruling National Congress Party, which dominates Parliament, concede its power to form a new transitional government that would draw up a new constitution before calling new elections.

Bashir, already under pressure because of his indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Sudan's western Darfur region, refuses to make concessions.

He is blamed by many northerners for the imminent breakup of Sudan, Africa's largest country and is likely to deal harshly with any threat to his regime.

Meantime, diplomatic sources report that Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south have been stockpiling arms.

The south's 125,000-strong military now has around 80 tanks plus truck-mounted 122mm multiple rocket launchers and anti-aircraft systems, mainly former Soviet bloc equipment brought in through Kenya.

They remain outnumbered by Bashir's 225,000-strong military which has been purchasing armor and building up its air force, particularly ground attack jets, weapons that plagued southern rebels during the civil war.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

China to send observers to Sudan for referendum
Beijing (AFP) Jan 4, 2011
China said Tuesday it would send observers to its close ally Sudan, where voting on an independence referendum for the south of the country is due to begin at the weekend. "At the invitation of both sides, China will send an observation mission for the referendum," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters. China - which does not elect its leaders by popular vote - is a key su ... read more

No date yet for Haiti vote run-off: official

In squalid Haiti camps, rape stalks women: Amnesty

Crippling 'indecision' blamed for slow Haiti recovery

Floods take economic toll on Queensland

Team Develops Functionally Graded Shape Memory Polymers

Graphene Grains Make Atom-Thick Patchwork Quilts

New Intel chip a coup for Hollywood

Recycled Haitian Concrete Can Be Safe, Strong And Less Expensive

Study backs community management to save world's fisheries

Cold suspected in Chesapeake fish kill

U.K. rivers cleanest in a century

Looking At Beavers' Role In River Restoration

Russia frees two of five ships trapped in ice floes

Polar Bears No Longer On Thin Ice

H.K. duck's epic Arctic trip sheds light on migration

Obama gives 'lump of coal' to polar bears: activists

Another death in land protest in China: state media

'Contaminated' German eggs exported to Netherlands

University Of Illinois Research Makes Plant Breeding Easier

Taiwan wants pigs potty-trained to curb pollution

Australia's Great Barrier reef under threat from floods

Australian mayor says flood recovery may take a year

Death toll from Philippine rains rises to 25: government

Australian floods spread to 40 towns, threaten Barrier Reef

Sudan braces for secession poll trouble

China to send observers to Sudan for referendum

African migrants feared drowned off Yemen

West Africa faces dilemma over I.Coast military plan

Modern dialect linked to ancient Greek

Fueling The Body On Fat

Greece to build fence to stop migrants

Spanish judge to probe Iraq refugee camp killings - lawyer

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement