The administration has acknowledged that U.S. efforts to determine the
fate of southern Sudan were failing. Officials said Khartoum and the
southern Sudanese administration have not kept pace with the schedule for a
referendum on independence, including delineating borders and oil resources.
"We have to redouble our efforts," U.S. special envoy to Sudan J. Scott
Gration said. "I think it's possible to get done everything we need to get
done. But we can't waste another minute."
In testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 19,
Gration, a retired Air Force general, warned that civil liberties were on
the decline in Sudan. He said the Sudanese elections in April 2010 had been
marred by widespread violations in what could portend trouble for the south.
"We have to take lessons from the election," Gration said.
At the hearing, senators urged the administration to expand efforts to
prevent Sudan from again sliding into civil war. Several committee members
said the White House must launch high-level intervention to facilitate the referendum.
"I think you ought to get a little more leverage on this effort, because
I don't think it's going to happen at the current pace," Senate Foreign
Relations Committee chairman Sen. John Kerry said.
The Obama administration has sought to help secure the southern Sudanese
administration ahead of the referendum, expected to be held in
January 2011. The U.S. firm DynCorp International has been contracted to
enhance law enforcement in the autonomous south.
"In order to prevent a return to full-scale, national war, the U.S. must
marshal more resources, exert more pressure, and hold all parties
accountable," John Norris, executive director of the anti-genocide Enough
Project, told the Senate committee.