Mbeki salutes Al-Bashir ahead of referendum

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has saluted Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir ahead of Sunday's referendum to determine whether or not Southern Sudan will remain a part of Sudan.

Mbeki was speaking at a function at the University of Khartoum on Wednesday.

According to the text of his speech, obtained by PANA, he  said Al-Bashir, 67, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Darfur in 2009, had accepted the secession referendum gracefully.

“There is no greater test of statesmanship than to accept, in a graceful, generous and humane manner, the decision of those of your people who have the opportunity to choose secession,” said Mbeki, who chaired a committee to investigate human rights violations in Darfur and to mediate between the ICC and Sudan.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban, will be present in Sudan during the referendum.

According to a statement by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC), he will be a guest of Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Loro, the Archbishop of Juba, and be part of an ecumenical monitoring team from all over Africa.

The SACBC has been strongly supportive of the people of Southern Sudan since 1994. Initially, this was by hosting a Sudan desk as part of the Justice and Peace Department of the Conference at the SACBC Secretariat in Pretoria.

Later, with the formation of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute as an Associate Body of the Conference, much work has been done to facilitate peace building in Sudan.

In 2010 alone there were six solidarity visits to Sudan.

Cardinal Napier called the opportunity to test the will of the people “historic, as it allows ordinary people who have endured the brunt of civil war and development exclusion a chance to reclaim their own dignity”.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 6Jan2011

06 janvier 2011 08:44:22

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