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Sudan: High stakes, high diplomacy for a country split

AFRICA is due to welcome a new state in January, when South Sudan votes in a referendum for independence from the north – or, if the referendum is delayed, simply declares independence

But, while South Sudan's secession from the predominantly Arabic north of the country might help in nation-building – the two parts have been involved in decades of civil war – it immediately raises threats over the security of nearly 0.5bn barrels a day (b/d) of oil production. With 80-90% of the country's oil deriving from fields in South Sudan, yet all of it exported by pipeline through the north to Port Sudan – and with both governments overwhelmingly dependent on oil revenues – the success, or failure, of the split would seem to hinge on both sides accepting a revenue-sharing formula. But, despite high-level international diplomatic efforts in recent months, no agreement has emerged. Un

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