, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – Northern Sudan should be prepared to share resources with the South should the ongoing referendum validate separation, Michael Majok of the Kenya Liaison Office of the Government of South Sudan says.
Speaking to Capital News on Monday, Mr Majok said that sharing common resources would benefit all the Sudanese people.
"We have some common interests between the North and South since we have been living together for 56 years. We have a historical relationship which we can share and the government of Southern Sudan is offering some understanding between the governments of Khartoum so that we can share wealth for the time being," he stated.
He said sharing points of interest would be strategically advantageous for both the North and South.
"It is important for them to have a good relationship with Southern Sudan because it is in their own strategic interest since they can be involved in trade especially with respect to oil since they have the pipes which they can share with the South," he pointed out.
The referendum was promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa\’s longest civil war, fuelled by oil and ethnicity between the mostly Muslim north and the south, where most people follow Christianity and traditional beliefs.
According to a legal expert, a split between the North and South of Sudan would be best for the largest nation in Sub Saharan Africa.
Lawyer Evans Monari stated that if it reflects the wishes of the Sudanese people, then it should be followed through.
"Even if they split and there is secession, I wouldn\’t worry too much even if Darfur or other regions later on decide to do the same," he said. "I think the right to self determination is something we all should respect so that if the Southern Sudanese want their own country, they ought to have it."
He however pointed out that a lot of issues need to be streamlined once the change is effected.
"The question is what happens the day after the vote. The potential complications are endless as the two sides may need to negotiate on very many things. They need to negotiate about their oil resources, they need to negotiate about their water resources," he pointed out.
"They also need to negotiate about citizenship; that is, do you belong to both nations because you are from Southern Sudan or from the other, they need to negotiate borders and the oil fills are almost at the border."
On Sunday, millions South Sudanese people started voting in a long-awaited independence referendum that is expected to see their war-ravaged region emerge as Africa\’s newest nation.
In Kenya, thousands of Sudanese lined up on the night before the vote to be among the first to vote in the weeklong, landmark referendum, expected to last for six days.
Out of a total of some 60,000 Sudanese from the Diaspora registered to vote, just over 15,000 are in Kenya, some 5,000 in the capital Nairobi, and a further 5,000 in the extreme North West at Kakuma refugee camp.
In all, eight polling stations have been set up in Kenya.
In neighbouring Uganda where some 13,000 South Sudanese are registered to vote at 11 polling stations, the same degree of enthusiasm was evident.