Sudan’s north-south civil war was the longest conflict in African history and claimed more than two million lives. In 2005, the United States played a critical role in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending that conflict and setting forth a roadmap for sustainable peace. Despite many lapses and some tragic violence, the agreement has held. As stipulated in the CPA, on January 9, 2011, a referendum will take place, allowing the southern Sudanese to vote on whether to remain part of Sudan or to gain independence. Whether the scheduled referendum proceeds peacefully on schedule is important for Sudan’s southerners, for Darfuris and the region.
On October 13, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion of the prospects for the Sudan referendum featuring Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). Following the Congressman’s remarks, Mike Abramowitz, director of the Committee on Conscience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum joined him in a discussion examining the possible dangers and outcomes of the southern Sudan vote. Nonresident Senior Fellow Rich Williamson, President Bush’s special envoy to Sudan, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.