Southern Sudan Prepares for Independence Day

July 8, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — The map of Africa will be redrawn Saturday, as southern Sudan becomes an independent nation through a peace process championed by successive U.S. presidents but still beset by lingering tensions from years of war.  President George W. Bush put Sudan at the center of his foreign policy in Africa, helping broker a 2005 peace agreement that ended a conflict that had claimed more than 2 million lives. President Obama has rallied international pressure to rescue that accord as it risked unraveling.   U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, who is scheduled to lead the U.S. delegation at the independence ceremony, said in a telephone interview this week that this was “a fraught and fragile moment, but a remarkable one nonetheless.”  Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony. He has promised to accept the oil-rich south’s secession, after initially balking at losing a Texas-size region that had provided much of his government’s revenue.

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