Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks of the capital Khartoum on July 12. Sudan says it should be taken off the U.S. terrorism list, but Washington says it is concerned about new fighting in the south of the country.
Credit Ashraf Shazly / AFP/Getty Images
When Sudan allowed South Sudan to become an independent nation last month, it hoped this would put an end to years of friction with the United States.
More specifically, Sudan desperately wanted to be removed from Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism and get out from under the many sanctions that come along with that designation.
But now the U.S. and the United Nations are raising concerns about fighting, and possible atrocities, near the border between Sudan and South Sudan.
The people of Southern Sudan will choose next month whether to break up Africa's biggest state into north and south and create the world's newest nation. Much is at stake, including most of Sudan's oil reserves and -- potentially -- peace in one of the continent's more volatile countries.
The biggest question looming as the Jan. 9 referendum approaches: Will the north and its Arab-led government let the mostly ethnic-African south go without more bloodshed?
These days, an air of melancholy hangs over Khartoum, Sudan's dusty desert capital.