WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday described as "a historic step" the successful start of voting for the southern Sudan referendum which is widely expected to split the largest African state in two.
"The successful start of voting for the southern Sudan referendum represents a historic step towards the implementation of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," Clinton said in a statement.
The week-long referendum is a major item in the CPA signed in 2005 to end a two-decade civil war between north and south Sudan that left around 2 million people dead.
"The United States is committed to the long-term security and prosperity of both north and south Sudan and we will continue to support the Sudanese people," Clinton said. "We will work closely with all our international partners to maintain strong international support for the referendum process, successful implementation of the CPA and a peaceful and prosperous future for all of the Sudanese people."
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