Uganda recently held talks with Southern Sudan about importing oil from the soon-to-be-independent state. Meanwhile, Sudan engaged in broad-ranging talks with two of its western neighbors, the Central African Republic and Chad. In an email interview, Jonathan Temin, director of the U.S. Institute of Peace's Sudan program, discussed the regional implications of south Sudan's secession.
WPR: How do Sudan's sub-Saharan neighbors view South Sudan's upcoming independence?
Jonathan Temin: Historically, Sudan's sub-Saharan neighbors, especially Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, have been supportive of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and its political wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, as well as of south Sudan's right to self-determination. The SPLA was based in Ethiopia for many years, and recently Kenya and Uganda have developed deep economic ties with south Sudan. A retired Kenyan general was the mediator of the negotiations that produced the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the north-south civil war in 2005. Ties between the Republic of South Sudan -- the name the new country will adopt upon independence in July -- and its sub-Saharan neighbors will likely deepen in the years to come, with the Republic of South Sudan growing increasingly dependent on its neighbors for trade and export routes if its relations with the Republic of Sudan -- northern Sudan -- remain cool or worse.