Monday, July 9, 2012

One year on, US sees Sudans in "mutual suicide" struggle

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - Sudan and South Sudan are playing a dangerous economic version of Russian roulette that threatens the success of both countries, the top U.S. official for the region said on the first anniversary of South Sudan's independence.

Princeton Lyman, U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, said frayed relations between Juba and Khartoum will slow desperately needed growth unless they can negotiate settlements to the border and oil issues that remain unresolved one year after the South seceded.

"Each side thinks the other is more vulnerable," Lyman said. "But it is a very dangerous attitude. It is kind of a mutual economic suicide approach."

Lyman's grim assessment came despite U.S. pressure on both sides to resolve their differences, which threaten to overshadow the peaceful emergence of South Sudan as Africa's newest independent state.

President Barack Obama's administration has promised to assist South Sudan economically and offered Khartoum - which is on Washington's official list of state sponsors of terrorism and has been under a U.S. trade embargo since 1997 - the prospect of better ties if the lingering disputes can be put to rest. Read More