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Hollywood Descends on Sudan as Date for Referendum Nears

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

(NNPA) Visitors, including veteran actor George Clooney, are flocking to Sudan, which in less than 100 days will give south Sudanese the choice whether to stay united with the North or become an independent country.

Clooney, a designated “U.N. Messenger for Peace” was among several U.N. officials, and the U.S. Holocaust Mem orial Museum, hoping to head off a resumption of fighting, if the scheduled plebiscite is delayed.

So far, preparations for the voting are seriously behind schedule - voter registration has not started and is unlikely to be ready on time for a January 9, 2011 vote, say local sources. There is not even a North-South border.

The referendum is a key provision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a decades-long north-south civil war, during which approximately two million people were killed.

At a recent meeting with parliament, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir gave assurances that the referendum was on track and predicted unity of the north and south would prevail.

But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed a widely-heard view that southerners will break away, and called independence “inevitable.”

One key point is the fate of the oil-rich Abyei border region which is claimed by both North and South.

As to the referendum, much will depend on final accord concerning the frontier; the sharing of major oil revenues and the citizenship of northerners and southerners, who live on the other side of the border.

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