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Sudan's Referendum Commission says southern Sudan referendum on Jan. 9

10-21-2010 14:26 BJT

KHARTOUM, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese Commission for Referendum announced on Wednesday that a referendum will be held on Jan. 9, 2011 in southern Sudan to decide the fate of the semi- autonomous region, according to the state-run SUNA news agency.

The message sent by SUNA also said that the registration of voters will start on Nov. 14, behind the schedule stipulated by a referendum law adopted by the Sudanese parliament last year, which said that the registration should be completed three months before the referendum.

"The Commission for Referendum decides officially Nov. 14 as the date for registration and Jan. 9 as the date for voting," the message said.

The referendum was agreed upon by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in northern Sudan and the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which is currently controlling southern Sudan, when they signed in 2005 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which put an end to the two-decade civil war between the north and south after some two million people had been killed and both sides had suffered grave destructions.

However, the NCP has repeatedly called for a postponement of the referendum, citing disputes between the northern and southern Sudan on borders, oil, debts, nationalities of southerners living in the north and the northerners living in the south, as well as technical and logistic problems, adding that these disputes should be ironed out before the referendum was held.

In the latest demand, some NCP parliamentarians suggested on Monday that a proposal for the postponement should be submitted by the National Assembly (parliament) to the Presidency.

Ahmid Abdurrahman, who was one of the NCP parliamentarians putting forward the demand, stressed that a session of southern Sudan was imminent, and that there were pending issues such as border demarcation between the north and the south had not been resolved, noting that a majority of NCP parliamentarians were supporting the suggestion.

Reacting to the suggestion, the leader of the SPLM parliamentary bloc in the National Assembly, Thomas Wani Kundu, said that the SPLM vehemently rejected the proposal, and would not entertain any delay of the conduct of the referendum whatever the case might be.

Sudanese Minister of Defense Abdul-Rahim Mohamed Hussein on Wednesday denied that he had asked for a delay of the southern Sudan referendum, reported official SUNA news agency.

The agency reported the minister's support for conducting the referendum as scheduled if the issues of border demarcation and the country's disputed oil-rich area of Abyei have been resolved.

Local and foreign media earlier quoted the Sudanese minister to have demanded delay of the referendum in statements he made following his meeting with the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Tuesday.

The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is expected to host on October 27, a meeting for the Sudanese government partners to find solutions for their outstanding issues with the participation of Sudanese First Vice-President and President of southern Sudan government Salva Kiir Mayardit, and Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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