Secession is lesser of two evils for Sudan - Former Chadian FM

Paris, France (PANA) – Secession at the end of a free and fair vote during the referendum in Sudan seems the lesser of two evils for the country, if its leaders succeed in defusing "time bombs" in the country, said the former Chadian Minister of foreign Affairs, Acheikh Ibni Oumar, in an interview with PANA.

"After 50 years of war, secession seems to a lesser evil. Nevertheless, I think that a well organised separation, in a peaceful atmosphere, can bring back peace in the region and allow the reformulation of a new form of collaboration between the two entities. Because, objectively, the two future States would not be viable if they turn their back to each other, " he said.

A referendum agreed under the peace agreement concluded in 2005 after more than 20 years of civil war between the regime of Khartoum and the rebels of the South, will enable South Sudanese to choose during the vote, which runs from 9-15 January, between remaining with Sudan or secession.
However, he said, the referendum was leaving some issues unsolved that could be real “time bombs”.

Mr. Ibni Oumar listed the “time bombs” as the delimitation of the North-South border, the voting right for the natives of the South living in the North, the fate of buffer communities, the division of resources and particularly the debt, the suppression of the opponents of the two dominant parties in the South and in the North.

"If the Sudanese political class, even after the partition, succeeded in defusing these time bombs, this situation could even be a historic opportunity for us to reflect together to the problem of the building of the nation-state and of regional integration in new terms. This would make it possible to transmit to future generation a heritage less heavy to manage," he said.

Historically, said the former Chadian diplomat, since the "Closed District Ordinance Act" of 1920, whereby the British colonial administration imposed an administrative, economic and social border between the North and the South, Sudan has never lived as a unified State.

"The mistake of successive regimes of Khartoum has been to believe that unity was to be preserved, while, in fact, it was to be created", said Mr Ibni Oumar, who was head of the Chadian diplomacy under dictator Hissein Habré between1989 and 1990.

The former Chadian diplomat does not want to envisage a new balkanisation of Africa if tomorrow other African communities want to follow the example of South Sudan.

For, he said, the risk of balkanisation in Africa is ancient and has nothing to do with Sudan, citing the situation of Katanga, Biafra, Anglophone Cameroon,  the Ogaden, Cabinda or Casamance.

For Mr. Ibni Oumar, the frontiers of the economic interests of the great powers are in conflict with the legal frontiers, hence the temptation of bloody adjustments.

According to him, "it is up to the African elites, governments and opposition, to be aware of the danger, to transcend the addictions of power and easy money, to take up these great challenges".

Ibni Oumar, was also special adviser of President Idriss Deby Itno between 1990 and 1991 after the latter toppled Habré. He was ambassador of Chad in the United States and Representative to the United Nations. However, at the end of 1999, he broke off with the government in N’Djamena and joined the armed rebellion.
-0- PANA BM/JSG/MTD/MA 8Jan2011

08 janvier 2011 17:06:22




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