Africa

Sudan Vote to Test Obama's Approach

As Sudan prepares to vote on an independence referendum, one of the President's point men is also an evangelical.

South Sudan's referendum vote on Sunday could put U.S. diplomacy to the test as it attempts to ensure peace between two sides.

The Economist reports that President Obama paid less attention to Sudan than former President Bush until mid-2010, when he tripled the number of American officials in South Sudan's capital and sent envoys to the country's current capital to pressure northern Sudan leaders. If South Sudan votes to secede, as expected, it will set off a potentially difficult six-month transition.

Sudan observers are concerned that the vote could cause more tension in the region, said Kimberly Smith, president of Make Way Partners, which runs an orphanage and girls' home for trafficking victims in Sudan.

"I don't think there's going to be a fair and equitable election, and that will cause a fight in and of itself," said Smith, who recently authored Passport through Darkness. "People are deceived and think the conflict is over, their attention goes somewhere else."

Just before Christmas, ...

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