China welcomes end of south Sudan referendum: FM spokesman

16:38, January 16, 2011      

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China welcomes the end of the week-long polling period of the south Sudan referendum, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Sunday.

Hong made the remarks when responding to a question concerning China's view on the end of the referendum.

"Through the joint efforts of north and south Sudan and the international community, the south Sudan referendum proceeded smoothly," Hong said.

Hong said China welcomes the end of the referendum, calling it an important step in fulfilling the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

"The Chinese group sent to Sudan to observe the referendum has completed its mission. China hopes to make joint efforts with the international community and related parties to play an active and constructive role in promoting peace, stability and development in Sudan," Hong said.

The referendum will determine whether south Sudan remains a part of Sudan or becomes independent, in accordance with the 2005 CPA that ended a long-running north-south civil war.

Sixty percent of the nearly 4 million registered voters have to take part in the referendum for it to be valid.

The referendum's preliminary results are expected to be announced by Feb. 2, and depending on whether appeals are launched in the courts, the final result will be declared on Feb. 7 or 14.

Source: Xinhua
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