South Sudan referendum ends with results of separation

10:33, February 08, 2011      

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Chairman of the African Union Panel on Sudan Thabo Mbeki makes statements at the press conference in which the final results of the south Sudan referendum was announced in Khartoum, Sudan, on Feb. 7, 2011. The South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) on Monday announced the final results of the south Sudan referendum, saying that 98.83 percent of the voters have voted for the separation of the region while 1.17 percent voted for unity. (Xinhua/Mohammed Babiker)

South Sudan referendum ended on Monday with the official announcement of the results which indicated that 98.83 percent of the voters have voted for separation.

South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) Chairman Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil said 3,792,518 voters voted in favor of separation while 44,888 voted for unity.

He explained that the total number of eligible voters amounted to 3,851,994 and that the number of valid votes amounted to 3,837, 406.

Khalil said 3,724,194 voted in south Sudan and 3,697,467 of them voted for separation, while 16,129 opted for unity.

The number of voters in north Sudan amounted to 69,597, of whom 38,003 voted for separation. In the eight overseas countries, 58, 230 cast ballots and 57,048 of them voted for separation.

The celebration for the announcement of the final result of the referendum was attended by a number of regional and international personalities including head of the Africa Union (AU) Panel on Sudan Thabo Mbeki, UN Representative in Sudan Haile Menkerios, Arab League (AL) representative, and European Union (EU) representative together with representatives of the diplomatic missions in Sudan and others.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir earlier in the day declared acceptance of the referendum results which were submitted by the SSRC to the Sudanese presidency.

"We have received the result and we heartily accept it because it expresses the will of the south Sudan citizens," said al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir further issued a Republican Decree accepting the final results of south Sudan referendum.

"The Presidency hereby declares its respect for the option of the people of the south, and our acceptance of the outcome of the referendum. The Presidency renews its resolve to move forward in order to sustain peace, development and stability, work to resolve the remaining outstanding issues and build positive and constructive relationships between the two parts of the country," the decree read.

In the meantime, the Sudanese Council of Ministers on Monday approved south Sudan referendum result in an extraordinary session chaired by al-Bashir in presence of his two Vice-Presidents Salva Kiir Mayardit and Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

Sudanese Minister of Information Kamal Obaid told reporters following the council's session that the council approved the result and congratulated the people of south Sudan for their option. It affirmed the meanings for which the president has called in a number of occasions on continuation in supporting the south until it completes the conditions required for the establishment of the state on July 9, 2011.

President of South Sudan government Salva Kiir Mayardit, addressing the council's session, said "separation is not the end of the road and we will not be enemies."

He further stressed the importance of building strong relations between the two sides, adding that the borders between north and south Sudan would be only on papers.

He urged the international community to reward the al-Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) for their remarkable role in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was inked between north and south Sudan in 2005.

"The person who does good things must be rewarded, " he said. " Sanctions imposed on Sudan must be lifted, Sudan's name must be removed from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism and its external debts should be exempted."

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General's Panel on the Referenda in Sudan on Monday welcomed the official announcement of the final results of the south Sudan referendum.

"The Panel believes that the referendum's outcome reflects the free will of the people of south Sudan and that the process as a whole was free, fair and credible," the panel said in a statement.

South Sudan referendum was conducted between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15, 2010, which constituted a major item in the CPA, which ended around two-decade civil war between the two sides.

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