The US offered this week to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terror as early as the middle of next year if Sudan agrees to let South Sudan secede in a referendum in January.
Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
Juba, South Sudan
Fearing a new surge of violence in Sudan, Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts played diplomat once again this week by flying out to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, for the second time in just two weeks.
Senator Kerry brought with him a message from President Obama: If President Omar al-Bashir lets Sudan’s oil-rich southern region secede peacefully in an upcoming referendum in January, the US will remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terror as early as the middle of next year. The State Department designation is shared by only 3 other countries: Cuba, Iran, and Syria.
But will the offer work?
Semiautonomous South Sudan heads to the polls in Jan. 9 for a referendum on secession, and independence mania here is in full swing. A digital clock counting down to the date has been erected in main roundabout of the capital, Juba. The edifice shows a picture of two fists breaking out of shackles.