Sudan referendum: Al-Bashir visits Southern Sudan, to 'celebrate' referendum outcome

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - With preparations ''100 per cent ready'' for the referendum to determine whether or not Southern Sudan remains a part of Sudan, President Omar Al-Bashir Tuesday flew to Juba, the regional capital of Southern Sudan, where he reiterated his earlier statement that he would accept the outcome of the referendum starting 9 Jan., be it unity or separation.

``Whatever be the choice of the southerners, we will accept it and say welcome,” President Bashir told leaders of southern Sudan in the town of Juba. “But let us provide a good example for brothers in Africa, even if we separate and we will do it peacefully, we will cooperate and provide them with the example of how the United States of Africa could be.''

President Al-Bashir also said his government is also ready to provide every assistance the government of southern Sudan would need, in case of separation.

``We will not be sitting in a mourning tent crying, if the southerners chose separation. We will not be happy either, but we will be the first to come and celebrate with southerners their choice,'' he said.

The Sudanese President later told a meeting of the civil society organizations in Juba that southerners in the north would be secure to stay in the north and that no one will lose property or be maltreated, on the basis of the outcome of the referendum.

A similar position was taken by the President of southern Sudan government, Salva kiir Mayardit, who stressed that no northerner living in the south will be harmed or their property seized.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chairman of the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), Chan Ring, was quoted by Al-Ahdath daily newspaper in Khartoum on Tuesday as saying preparations for the referendum have been completed by 100% .
Ring said the number of registered voters is close to 4 million, with 3,753,000 in the south, 100,860 in the north and 60,314 in eight foreign countries, with United States registering the highest number - 508,975 voters

Sudan has 25 states, 10 of them in the south. Most southerners are based in the south, even though a few hundreds of thousands live in the north.

Ring disclosed that while the government of South Sudan had fully made available 51 million Sudanese pounds (US$17 million) contribution to financing the referendum, the government in Khartoum had yet to make its contribution available.

However, he said this would not adversely affect the referendum which he said would take seven days, while the sorting of votes would take about three weeks.
-0- PANA MO/SEG 4Jan2011

04 january 2011 12:55:43

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