UN envoy in Sudan hails move for referendum

New York- US (PANA) -- Haile Menkerios, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in Sudan, has welcomed the appointment of an independent body to oversee preparations for a referendum on whether southern Sudan should secede from the rest of the country.
Menkerios, who was quoted in a statement on Tuesday, also congratulated the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission members who were endorsed by the country's National Assembly.
The referendum, scheduled for next January, will be the final phase in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended a two-decade north-south civil war in Sudan.
In April, the country held nation-wide parliamentary and presidential elections, the first in 24 years.
In the statement, Menkerios urged the two partners to the CPA -- the National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement -- to accelerate the formation of the long overdue Abyei referendum commission.
The Abyei commission will be responsible for organizing and running a separate referendum in the Abyei area in central Sudan, home to a large percentage of the country's oil reserves.
The bone of contention is whether the area should retain its special administrative status in the north or be part of Bahr El Ghazal state in the South.
The role of UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is to provide the logistical and technical support for the two referenda, if requested.
"UNMIS reiterates its commitment to fully support the implementation of the CPA," the UN envoy said.
He, however, called on the parties to ensure that the referenda "are carried out in a credible way and reflect the will of the people".

30 june 2010 07:17:00

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