South Sudan + 10 more

The two Sudans: A tour of the neighborhood

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By: Omer Ismail and Annette LaRocco

Jan 19, 2012

Prior to South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, Sudan was the largest country in Africa. At over one million square miles, Sudan stretched from the Sahara to Central Africa. As a unified country it bordered on nine other states. Today, after separation, the two Sudans share a diverse and critical geopolitical sub-region that links the Sahara, the Sahel, the Horn, and the Great Lakes.

While negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan are critical, the broader regional context is important as well. The two Sudans do not exist in a vacuum; rather, their postseparation negotiations and bilateral relations will be situated within a regional context. Regional neighbors will impact the ways in which the countries relate to each other as well as the larger complex of geopolitical neighbors. That said, international actors, too, top among them, the United States, the European Union, and China, play a critical role in shaping the political and economic dynamics of the region. These influential international actors must continue to support, both politically and economically, initiatives of regional actors focused on maintaining peace and security between the two Sudans, and beyond, and promoting the development of the region as a whole. In many ways, the two countries are an important fulcrum around which regional political dynamics revolve. The Enough Project examines some of the two countries’ most important neighbors and regional relationships.