UN chief urges "peaceful process" ahead of southern Sudan's referendum

15:12, September 14, 2010      

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With the January referendum on independence for southern Sudan, UN Secretary- general Ban Ki-moon said Monday that "we must all do our utmost to ensure a peaceful process, whatever the outcome."

"We face the additional challenge of helping Sudan to negotiate this critical passage," Ban told reporters here at a press conference, highlighting that the referenda in southern Sudan and Abyei is "just four months away."

Differences have mounted between the two ruling partners in Sudan, the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), over a series of problems including south Sudan referendum arrangements, formation of referendum commission and border demarcation.

Late last month, both partners vowed to conduct a free and credible referendum in southern Sudan.

Additionally, the Sudanese Presidency, the highest executive authority in the country, has approved a number of resolutions and arrangements to remove all the barriers for the referendum commission.

Major General Moses Bisong Obi, the force commander of the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), told the Security Council last month that the January referenda poses a big challenge for UNMIS.

Obi stressed the need for increased aviation resources and freedom of movement in order to secure the African country for the upcoming elections.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulates that the two referenda be conducted in January, 2011 -- one on self- determination for south Sudan and one to decide whether the Abyei area shall be part of Bahral-Ghazal State in southern Sudan or the North Kordofan State in northern Sudan.

The CPA, which was inked between north and south Sudan in 2005, ended a two-decade civil war between the two sides.

In the meantime, the U.S. Administration is expected to hold a conference on Sudan later this month, which would be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings.

Progress in implementation of the CPA, south Sudan referendum arrangements and the international arbitration on Abyei and Abyei referendum are expected to be discussed.



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