Carter urges resolving outstanding issues for positive referendum atmospheres

23:42, January 07, 2011      

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Friday affirmed the importance of resolving outstanding issues between north and south Sudan to enhance what he described as " encouraging" atmospheres ahead of the referendum on Sunday.

"I would say that our present assessment for the referendum would be very positive, but it is important that outstanding issues be resolved," Carter told reporters here after meeting members of South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC).

"There are currently discussions on issues concerning Abyei, and the division of revenues, the division of national debt and delineation of the borders, but I don't think any of those issues can be resolved in a positive way until after perhaps the end of this month in the 29th of January or perhaps after when the referendum results are known," he added.

Carter further stressed the importance of conducting the referendum in a peaceful manner and to accept its results.

He commended the commitment of north and south Sudan leadership to accept the referendum result whatever it is, saying "the commitments of north and south leadership have been to accept those results peacefully."

"The recent developments have been very encouraging. I would say particularly the statement by President (Omar) al-Bashir that was made in Juba recently concerning his full acceptance of the result of the referendum whatever it is," Carter added.

He in the meantime affirmed that the international community would help the Sudanese to surpass the current phase and ensure establishment of two states if the southerners voted for separation.

"The international community is very determined to fulfill every possible role in ensuring a peaceful establishment of two countries if that should be the decision made by the southern voters," he said.

The Carter Center participates in monitoring the south Sudan referendum where the center dispatched 16 international observers from 12 countries to assess the process where there is voting in north and south Sudan.

According to the SSRC, the total eligible registered southern Sudanese voters amounted to 4,100,060.

The southern Sudanese are expected to head for the voting centers to vote in the referendum to decide whether the region should remain united with north Sudan or secede to establish an independent State.

The referendum was stipulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), inked between north and south Sudan in 2005, which ended a two-decade civil war between the two sides.

Source: Xinhua
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