Clinton warns of "ticking time bomb" in Sudan
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Wednesday of a potential "ticking time bomb" in Sudan ahead of a January referendum on southern independence, dpa reported
The United States has intensified diplomatic efforts to resolve outstanding issues between the north and south, including how oil revenue vital to the country's economy will be shared after the referendum, Clinton said.
"The timeframe is very short. Pulling together this referendum is going to be very difficult," Clinton said following a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. She added that the potential for violence if the differences are not resolved is "a ticking time bomb of enormous consequence."
The referendum stems from a 2005 peace agreement ending 20 years of civil war that left 2 million people dead. The conflict was between the largely Muslim north and separatist Christian rebels in the south, where most of Sudan's lucrative oil fields exist.
Sudan's ruling National Congress Party and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, which now governs the south, have not been able to come to terms on sharing oil revenue and foreign debt, and over how to conduct the election and who should be allowed to vote.
It is widely expected that the referendum will result in southern independence. Clinton expressed concerns that there has not been sufficient effort in conducting the referendum, because the south does not have the resources and because the north has little incentive to support it given that the outcome is certain to favor the south