China is courting the secessionist government of oil-rich southern Sudan, an apparent departure from Beijing's decades-long opposition to independence movements abroad.
Sudan, after nearly constant civil war over the past five decades, is seeing tensions boil again ahead of a planned independence referendum early next year that stands to split Africa's largest country in two. Voters from the oil-rich, largely Christian south are expected to vote to break away from the country's largely Muslim north. As the Jan. 9, 2011, election date approaches, both sides accuse the other of amassing troops.
Politics of Sudan was formed around an authoritarian republic in which all effective political power is in the hands of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. On June 30, 1989 a military coup took place and Bashir and his party took controlled the government.
In 1997, the country was separated into five regions in the north and three in the south, and all have a military governor. These has made the states economically dependent on the central government, and their limited budgets are determined by and dispensed from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in the east-central part of the country.(3)
The country is currently in an interim or transitional period following the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was established on January 9, 2005 that officially ended the civil war between the Sudanese Government and the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. These members make up 450 appointed members who represent the government, former rebels and other opposition political parties.(1)
On September 9, 2004 the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that the Darfur conflict “genocide”, it was one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century. In 2004 there were reports of 2 million civilians displaced and the death toil is estimated at 200,000 to 400,000 killed.(2)
In 2006 a Darfur Peace Agreement was signed aimed at ending the three yearlong conflicts. But was soon broken by the African Union, and since the agreement was signed, there still have been reports of wide spread violence throughout the region. During this time a rebel group emerged and called themselves the “National Redemption Front” these are rebels who had refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement back in 2006. As a result it seems that not much has changed. UNICEF recently reported that around 80 infants die each day in Darfur as a result of the malnutrition in the country.(2)
In August 2006, United Nations Security Council resolution to establish a UN peacekeeping force for Darfur was rejected by Sudan. Late in 2006 progress on establishing a peacekeeping force for Darfur appeared to be making progress, but as of January 2007, both sides in Darfur had reached on final agreement.(1)
The United States has trade restrictions on Sudan. But a well-used export of gum Arabic is exempted. Coca-Cola and other major soft drink companies need gum arabic to make their product, so how can we feel good about this export?(3)