Sudan ill-prepared for key votes next year, report says

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Report: Country ill-prepared for key votes

Six months before a referendum that could split Sudan in two, the United States and other countries are doing too little to help prepare for the vote, according to a report issued Wednesday by advocacy groups.

They also warn that if the vote goes badly, there is a risk of civil war resuming. Most experts say they think southern Sudan will vote to secede in the Jan. 9 referendum.

"Alarmingly, the current level of preparation is poor" for the referendum, according to the report, "Renewing the Pledge," which was issued by more than two dozen groups, including Refugees International, Save Darfur and the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress.

Planning has also been inadequate ahead of a referendum set for the same day in Abyei, an oil-rich area near Sudan's north-south border, the report said. Abyei will decide whether to join the south or remain a special administrative region in the north.

"The possibility of holding two free, fair and peaceful referenda in January 2011 is becoming more difficult as each day passes," the report said. One of the biggest unresolved issues is how northern and southern Sudan would split the country's oil wealth, which is mainly concentrated in the south, it said.

-- Mary Beth Sheridan


Pakistan accused over Mumbai attack

A senior Indian official has accused Pakistan's powerful spy agency of planning and carrying out the 2008 attack on Mumbai, the toughest and most direct allegation by India's government against its neighbor over the assault that killed 166 people.

The charge of Inter-Service Intelligence agency involvement, published Wednesday in the Indian Express newspaper, came a day before the foreign ministers of the nuclear-armed rivals are to meet in Islamabad in a bid to ease tensions prompted by the attack.

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