|Africa News Digest
Sudan: North Accepts Referendum Vote
KHARTOUM, Jan. 31 (EIRNS)Acknowledging a near 99% vote for separation in the just-concluded Jan. 9-15 referendum vote in Southern Sudan, Ali Osman Taha, Vice President of Sudan, gave the government's first official response to this historic vote, before several hundred press and government officials at Friendship Hall today.
Taha stated unequivocally that the government of Sudan "accepts the result of their referendum as reported" yesterday from Juba, the expected capital of the South. He said, "We wish all the best for our friends in the South, and hopefully they will enjoy stability and peace. The government of the North recognizes the results and will work positively to build institutions for the new state in the south."
Today's Sudan Vision newspaper quotes Salva Kiir Miyardit, the President of Southern Sudan and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, describing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as the "Hero of Peace" for the cooperation of the northern National Congress Party in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Among the other issues discussed by Taha, which was also the focus of the many of the questions was the state of the Sudanese economy, which EIR's Lawrence Freeman participated in during the question-and-answer period. Taha discussed the consequences of the increase in the price of basic commodities, like sugar (which he said was not caused by Sudan), and the government's decision to reduce the subsidies for gasoline, as well as the effects on Sudan of the international financial crisis, and stated that Sudan's needs to focus on economic development, investment in infrastructure, and the creation of more non-government jobs.
Taha reported during the Q&A that cotton prices were the highest in 50 years and have gone up 300% in the last three years, and that Sudan will use the increase in food prices as an opportunity to increase food production with the goal of becoming food self-sufficient in the next three years. Many questions centered on the economic conditions in Sudan, and whether Sudan should continue to follow a policy of economic liberalism.
Freeman, after identifying EIR as a U.S.-based weekly founded by Lyndon LaRouche, was able to point out that the collapse of global financial system is the cause of hyperinflationary increase in prices, and that it will only get worse. He said Sudan needs to prioritize investment in infrastructure projects for energy, water, and transportation, for both the North and the South. He was able to expose the failure of globalization and economic liberalism, and suggest that the way forward for Sudan was to follow the policies of Franklin Roosevelt with publicly funded infrastructure projects which would increase productivity, and provide security for Sudan to become a sovereign nation. Freeman's remarks were cited by others in the discussion.
It is expected that in the next several days the vote for secession will be officially certified, and with no challenges expected, the new state of Southern Sudan will be born on July 9, 2011, although there are still many important and contentious issues between the North and the South that remain unresolved.
During EIR's current week-long stay in Sudan, many people have expressed recognition of LaRouche and EIR, especially LaRouche's forecast of the collapse of the financial system and his analysis of President Obama's failed personality.