Sudan gov't reiterates commitment to conducting referendum as scheduled

13:49, October 10, 2010      

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The Sudanese government on Saturday reiterated its commitment to conducting the south Sudan referendum as scheduled on Jan. 9, 2011, only if the referendum is fair, free and reflects the will of southern Sudanese voters.

"We are committed to conducting the referendum on its fixed time in January 2011, but we stress on the importance of ensuring the fairness of the referendum without affecting the choices of the voters in south Sudan," Sudanese Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Karti said when addressing talks between a visiting delegation of UN Security Council (UNSC) and the Sudanese government here on Saturday.

The government in Khartoum and the National Congress Party (NCP) have fulfilled all commitments regarding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), in particular the security arrangements, he said, noting "the Sudanese army completed redeployment 100 percent, while the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) completed only 33 percent."

He asked the international community to put pressure on the armed movements in Darfur to join the peace talks in the Qatari capital of Doha and criticized what he termed as "support of some big countries to the Darfur rebels."

Ali Karti reiterated desire of the Sudanese government to reach a political settlement for the Darfur issue through dialogue and negotiations.

"We have worked out a new strategy to deal with the Darfur crisis that stands mainly on the principle of dialogue and negotiations. We hope the international community would support this trend," he said.

The foreign minister, as well, expressed Sudan's commitment to combating the abduction of humanitarian workers and personnel of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

"We are working in coordination with the UNAMID to combat this phenomenon and enable the mission to perform its tasks and ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy," he said.

Head of the UNSC delegation Mark Grant, in the meantime, expressed the UN Security Council's concern over "the upsurge in violence in Darfur."

The security council was also concerned about the recruitment of children by armed groups and the continued restrictions on humanitarian access, Grant said.

The UNSC delegation on Wednesday began a four-day visit to Sudan to get acquainted with the ongoing arrangements of the referendum on self-determination for south Sudan, slated for January 2011, and the conditions in the Darfur region which has suffered a civil war since 2003.

The delegation started its visit in Juba in south Sudan, where the delegation members held talks with Sudanese First Vice- President and President of the southern Sudan government Salva Kiir Mayardit. Then it visited the Darfur region and held talks with the officials there before arriving in Khartoum on Saturday.

Source: Xinhua


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