Sudan's referendum takes pivotal spot in global diplomacy

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The 9 January, 2011 referendum vote that would decide the future of Sudan's former rebel south and its northern part has come at the top of international efforts to prevent a return to the 21 years of war witnessed in the region.
The caliber of guests attending a high-level international meeting on Sudan, held at the UN Headquarters in New York 24 September, confirmed the important spot the Sudanese referendum has assumed, almost 100 days to the referendum.
"In January, the people of southern Sudan will make a momentous decision on wh ether to remain within a united Sudan, or to secede to establish an ndependent state," African Union Commission President Jean Ping told the high-level summit on Sudan.
The meeting was convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to review the situation in the Sudan, 107 days ahead of the crucial referendum on the self- determination of South Sudan.
It was attended by US President Barack Obama and several African leaders, including Bingu Wa Mutharika, President of Malawi and Chairperson of the African Union, Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, the Presidents Ali Bongo of Gabon,Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
Obama said the world should be pre-occupied with the fact that Sudan, emerging from two decades of war, should be allowed to slip back into civil war after the referendum.
The Sudanese delegation, headed by Vice President Ali Osman Taha and First Vice President and President of the Government of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, pledged at the meeting to hold the referendum on time on 9 January and respect its outcome.
"The participants expressed strong support to both Sudan and South Sudan and confirmed the commitment to respect the outcome of a credible referendum and to assist the Sudanese achieve sustainable peace throughout Sudan in the post- referendum period," the AU said in a statement.
Ping urged the leaders and people of Sudan to rise to the historic challenge of organising a legitimate and credible referendum on the self-determination of South Sudan.
He reiterated the view that the primary responsibility to find lasting solutions to the crises in Sudan rests with the Sudanese people and called on them to boldly meet the challenge of renewing their nation.
"The success or failure of all the efforts deployed depends on the Sudanese," Ping stated, adding "the international community is duty-bound to sincerely offer all necessary support, while bearing in mind that it cannot take the place of the Sudanese people.
" The AU chief emphasized the regional and international importance of the 2011 referendum in Sudan.
He said decisions which will be made by the Sudanese and the manner of their implementation will have repercussions on the entire African continent.
"Sudan is a crossroads, a point of convergence between East, West and North Af rica, as well as between Muslims and Christians," Ping stated.

26 september 2010 11:09:00




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