April 12, 2010 — Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, Head of the Government of Southern Sudan’s Mission to the United States, joined us for a discussion of Sudan’s national elections.
Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth began by discussing the importance of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and what the elections signify to the people of Sudan and the legitimacy of President al-Bashir’s government. Mr. Lol Gatkuoth emphasized the importance of election monitoring and that possible vote rigging could lead to increased instability in the country. However, even with the precarious stability situation in Sudan, Mr. Lol Gatkuoth did stress that the 2011 referendum, as established in the CPA is a far more significant concern for the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM). A post-2011 arrangement between the government of President Omar al-Bashir and the SPLM-led government in Southern Sudan is also an imperative for the continued implementation of the CPA and hope for the continued peace between North and South Sudan.
The majority of the discussion on the general elections and the 2011 referendum occurred during the question and answer session. Mr. Lol Gatkuoth used this opportunity to explain the SPLM’s boycott of the elections in northern Sudan and his party’s expectations for the 2011 referendum. He also addressed many of the concerns of the SPLM in reference to the NCP’s dedication to the fulfillment of the CPA. Additionally, the current election, has largely been seen in the South as a test run for the January 2011 referendum, and regardless of results, can be lauded for its implementation as a first step in the democratic process and development of Sudan.
Furthermore, the issues of natural resources and governing capacities in the South were discussed in reference to the vote for secession in the 2011 referendum. Mr. Lol Gatkuoth and other members of his delegation focused on the importance of capacity building and international support for the continued implementation of the CPA, regardless of the results in the current election and next year’s referendum.
Security for a New Century is a nonpartisan discussion group for Congress. We meet regularly with U.S. and international policy professionals to discuss the post-Cold War and post-9/11 security environment. All discussions are OFF-THE-RECORD. It is not an advocacy venue. For more information, please call Mark Yarnell at (202) 224-7560 or write to [email protected].