'Bashir's message brings hope to successful referendum in south Sudan'

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator  John Kerry, has said that statements made by Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir in Juba, southern Sudan, are positive, encouraging and set the stage for a successful referendum.

"The new-year speech by President Bashir as well as his comments yesterday (Tuesday) in Juba are extremely encouraging. They are very positive and they are very constructive. And I think it sets a good stage for the event that begins in the next few days," Senator Kerry said after a meeting with senior presidential advisor, Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin, in Khartoum Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Bashir had pledged to accept the outcome of the referendum, be it for unity or separation, saying that southerners and their properties in northern Sudan would be protected.

Bashir said in case of separation, the two sides should live in peace and show an example to other African countries on how cooperation could flourish between two countries.

Kerry, who arrived in Khartoum Tuesday evening, started a hectic schedule on Wednesday with marathon meetings with the presidential advisors, including Salahuddin, and General Gosh, the presidential advisor on security matters.

Senator Kerry described the referendum as "a unique and extraordinary opportunity for the Sudan" that would help improve relations between the US,  Europe and Sudan.

Sudan is on the US list of countries accused of sponsoring international terrorism, a charge Khartoum has constantly rejected.

“We look forward to a successful referendum which is the precursor to strong and new relations with the Untied States and with other counties,” the US official stressed.

He commended the progress made on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the last stage of which is the referendum.

“I think we are on course and the important thing is try to stay focused on the positive benefits that will come to Sudan, north and south, and to all Sudanese and that is what we will be working for,” Senator Kerry said.

The US had imposed economic sanctions against the Sudan, saying they would be lifted only if Khartoum implements the CPA in full. It also demands that Sudan negotiates in good faith and reach a resolution on the Darfur issue.
-0- PANA MO/VAO 5Jan2010

05 يناير 2011 14:55:45

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