Thabo Mbeki and the 'Long Talk' to Southern Sudan's Referendum

"The negotiations between the National Congress Party (NCP) of Northern Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of Southern Sudan over the possible consequences of the referendum scheduled for January 2011 in which Southern Sudan will vote on whether to remain part of Sudan or form an independent state. Of particular interest is the structure of the negotiations and the postreferendum scenarios former South African president Thabo Mbeki outlined at the launch of the talks in Khartoum during July 2010. The policy challenges Southern Sudan’s referendum poses to Africa and the international community are further highlighted by the UN secretarygeneral’s warning against actors in Sudan taking unilateral action on the issue of unity or secession. This paper draws attention to some of the internal political challenges Southern Sudan faces, regardless of whether it remains part of Sudan or chooses to strike out along the path of independent statehood."