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Sudan referendum faces new challenges while Darfur violence rises

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Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/AP

(Read caption) A group of lawyers walk out of the constitutional court after delivering papers as part of their legal bid to halt a referendum on southern Sudanese independence, in Khartoum on Dec. 12. Lawyers for a Sudanese campaign group, Society Organisation Network, launched a legal bid on Sunday to halt Sudan's referendum on southern independence, accusing organisers of mishandling the process, a move which could derail the Jan. 9 vote.

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Voter registration in South Sudan has concluded and less than a month remains before the momentous vote. In the latest Sudan Peace Watch, find a summary of the major political and security developments in Sudan from the last three weeks. Here are the highlights:

More challenges to come in the referendum planning process: As the successful registration process begins winding down, new threats to the referendum timeline and to peace more generally, begin to emerge.

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Still no deal on Abyei: The two parties accept the impossibility of holding a referendum in Abyei on Jan. 9 and begin discussing various internationally-proposed options for the region.

Recommended: Sudan referendum fuels tension in key border town of Abyei

Minor progress on post-referendum negotiations: Mbeki announces the indefinite suspension of post-referendum talks this week, but the parties reach a minor agreement on oil.

Prospects for a sustainable peace deal in the near future dwindle for Darfur: Violence continues to plague the regionas the various rebel groups pose new challenges to the government in both Doha and Darfur.

Read on here.

We’ll release a new Sudan Peace Watch once every two weeks or so and publish them on the Sudan page of our website. We’ll also post a synopsis on Enough Said on the day a new edition comes out.

– The Enough Project blogs at Enough Said.