The U.S. as guarantor and mediator of talks and processes for implementing CPA needs to help set an agenda that enables the north and south begin to resolve four points prior to end of 2009, on the presumption that the vote for independence has high likelihood to be favorable.
First, what attributes of southern sovereignty can be implemented right away in 2011, and which have to wait? South Sudan can take its seat at the United Nations, but maybe does not need to have dozens of waiting rooms at border crossings for the herders and farmers who straddle the north-south border.
Second, how are the assets and liabilities of Sudan to be divided? Separate sovereignty cannot accommodate the current deliberate ambiguity over responsibility for oil reserves,international debt (currently more than $20 billion), domestic government debt, infrastructure and public corporations (all concentrated in the north like the profitable Kenana sugar scheme and the giant dam near Merowe), and promises to compensate the 2.5 displaced of Darfur, who suffered war crimes committed by the Sudan Armed Forces and their irregular allies, the janjawid.
Third, how will Darfur be represented in the interim National Assembly of Sudan that will be the legislative body implementing the referendum during the period after elections in February 2010 and then agreeing to the decisions regardingthe first two questions? Elections are not possible in Darfur (at least Abdel Wahid Moh. Nuur was very clear on Radio Dabanga that he opposed elections until people feel safe enough to return, which seems highly unlikely before 2010 unless suddendly NCP completely changes tactics) because of the insecurity and the inability of the displaced to return to their homes. Some kind of temporary power-sharing arrangement has to be arrived at, then, to enhance legitimacy of southern referendum and subsequent separation.
Fourth, in lead up to 2010 elections and then referendum how can freedom of the press and freedom of association (holding meetings) be best enabled/guaranteed by international monitors, if NCP either does not want itself to guarantee that or NCP claims it is not in control of "rogue" security/militia/people's police type intimidation techniques. Applies to lesser scale in south, of course. Mobile networks ar turning out to be key flashpoints in this regard... will something like FrontlineSMS be deployable on a large scale and not interfered with?
Development as... a better postal service - Francis from Oregon writes: "I am a young postcard collector working on a geography project. For this project, I would really love a postcard from Sudan or...