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The conflict in Sudan has a long history. The fight between the Sudan’s Christian south with the predominantly Islamic north dates back in 1955. That conflict went up to 1972. The then Ethiopian Emperor Haileselassie intervened to mediate the South and North. It worked to a large extent. Though he failed, his contribution to mediate the Sudanese made the Emperor the strong candidate for the Nobel peace prize in that year.
The problem resurrected in 1983 and stayed on course until the signing ceremony of the peace accord, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) held in Naivasha, Kenya between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) that took place on January 9, 2005. The signatories were John Garang, then leader of SPLM who died in a plane accident and the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir who officially accepted the results the referendum.
Despite the fact that the question of Abyei, Blue Nile State and the Nuba mountains and the sharing of the oil remained unresolved during the referendum in January 2011, the hope was that the two Sudanese will live in peace then after. But that was not the case to be so. Both began delivering speeches that made stand the eyebrows of the other the next day. A few months after gaining independence the two sides were confronted in the battle field for a number of times. The severe one was the one that took place in April, 2012.

This indicates that from the start the process and the realization of secession had a serious problem. As if this was a solution, the world great powers like the United States of America and Britain were strong advocates for the secession of South Sudan. To the surprise of many their support this time didn’t even include the usual catch words like the respect of democracy and human rights. Why the great powers made a complete skip of the term democracy and human rights was a mystery. Instead of talking about the importance of democracy and human rights for the new state they rather stick on the peaceful transition. Well, in the run up to the referendum, the process was indeed peaceful. Even President Omar Hassan al-Bashir pledged to help his “southern brothers” in his speech after knowing that Sudan was divided in two. 
This was the second time for the Sudanese referendum to take place in less than 20 years in the eastern part of Africa. The first one was the lavish referendum that ended up dividing a sovereign country, Ethiopia, in two. Eritreans emerged as a free state after they secured independence through the referendum held in 1993. In truth Eritrea gained independence after they won the 30-year bloody armed struggle. Their freedom was guaranteed at the battle ground rather than the referendum box. The referendum that took place a couple of years after they actually won the battle in May 1991, was very peaceful and it took place for formality.
But in the case of the South Sudan the referendum decided their fate though the armed struggle plus the heavy pressure of the big powers pushed rulers in the north to sign the accord in 2005. Both Eritrea and South Sudan were in a state of euphoria right after the referendum. But in both cases referendum didn’t bring the anticipated peace and stability in the region.
The Eritrean case was better; the two new neighbors, Ethiopia and Eritrea, at least, had seven years of peaceful coexistence before a major war broke out between the two states in 1998. The North and South stayed only a few months without military confrontation.
In both case the outcome of the referendum was known. In a very well arranged polling system the Eritreans voted 99.8 percent in favour of Secession while the South Sudanese people gave 97 percent. In both cases the world powers such as the United States of America, Britain and France acclaimed the democratic process of the referendum and the outcome. In both cases the world body, the United Nations instantly recognized both Eritrea and the South Sudan.
If there was one difference it was the reaction of the continental body, African Union. When Eritrea was separated from Ethiopia the Organization of African Union (OAU) was dragging its feet to instantly recognize Eritrea because of the long held tradition of the organization. Tradition has it that all member countries should accept the colonial boundary so that requesting secession was not accepted. OAU recognized Eritrea by the heavy pressure of Ethiopia through Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. But in the case of South Sudan the African Union was the first to recognize it.
In one sense both the Eritrean and the Sudanese people had something to celebrate. This referendum brought to an end the civil war that claimed close to two million and half lives.
But the referendum brought a new kind of tension in both countries: border conflict. There was no clear cut border demarcation when secession was approved. Due to this many had the fear that this delicate arrangement would be the source of conflict which was highly likely to spill over to its borders. And it did. In the Eritrean case in addition to the closure of the port of Assab since the war broke out 14 years ago, the number of refugees flooded the eastern part of Africa. That became the concern of the United Nations.
When major war broke out in Sudan it had a global impact as Sudan is oil producing country. In the recent negotiation here in Addis Ababa Dar Petroleum the oil company operating in South Sudan agreed that it will begin oil production in South Sudan as soon as possible following a security deal signed with Sudan, though getting back to full production remains several months away. South Sudan in January this year shut down its oil production after accusing Sudan of stealing its crude. South Sudan gained control of about 75 percent of the formerly united country’s 490,000 barrels a day of crude output when it declared independence from Sudan in July 2011. But South Sudan’s oil must be pumped through pipes owned by Sudan, which said it had taken the south’s oil in lieu of unpaid fees for the use of its export and processing facilities. Imagine how the arrangement is complex.
Considering all this, prediction about the future of Sudan is extremely difficult. One thing that makes it difficult is the delicate arrangement during the separation.