Sudan: UN envoy says referendum deal a starting point for unity (Corrected)

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The United Nations top envoy to Sudan, Ashraf Qaz i, has hailed an agreement reached between the Sudanese political parties to eas e the conduct of a national referendum, saying the deal â?makes the journey easie râ?.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP), based in Khartoum, and Southern Sudanâ ?s Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) announced they had reached an agreement on the terms of conducting a national referendum on the independence of South Suda n .
Sudanese political parties appeared to be pulling towards different directions o n key political points that would determine the unity of both the North and the S outh.
UN Secretary-Generalâ?s Special Envoy to Sudan hailed the agreement reached bet ween Southern Sudan and Khartoum on the conduct of the national referendum that w ould determine whether Southern Sudan remains part of Sudan.
â?The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Qazi congratulated th e NCP and the SPLM on reaching agreements allowing for the adoption of critical l egislation governing the Southern Sudanese Referendum,â? a UN statement said.
The agreement covers the formally disputed territory of Abyei, which will also h old a Referendum, to determine whether it becomes part of Southern Sudan and par t of the North.
Qazi also commended both CPA partners for their commitment to bringing about a p roductive working relationship and positive environment for the peaceful and suc c essful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The CPA, signed in January, 2005, was a crucial step towards the ending of a 21- year long civil war between the North and the South.
It contained provisions for the independence of Southern Sudan after the end of a six-year interim period, which ends in 2011.
The CPA also attempted to end the dispute over the status of the oil-rich Abyei region, which was claimed by both Khartoum and the South.
The disagreement was partially settled by the permanent court of dispute resolut ion at The Hague in 2009.
â?The road ahead may be long, but this major step forward should make the journ ey easier,â? said Mr.
Qazi urged the Government of National Unity to make the most of the agreement by implementing the legislation with all due haste and in particular by moving as q uickly as possible to appoint both the Southern and Abyei Referendum Commissions .
He also expressed the hope that the latest developments would facilitate NCP-SPL M agreements and understanding on other outstanding CPA issues, including the na t ional elections and the disputed census results, the national security bill and p ost-referendum arrangements as early as possible.
Sudan is gearing for elections in April, 2010.
The elections would see the Sudan elect national leaders and is credited as the most democratic poll to be conducted in the country is decades.

14 december 2009 17:00:00

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