September 8, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – A meeting that took place in late August between the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir held with his Vice President and president of South Sudan Salva Kiir to discuss progress on preparations for referendum has failed to break deadlock on a number of issues, a senior official from the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) said today.
- Deputy Secretary General of Sudan People Liberation Movement party, SPLM, Yasir Arman (AP)
Sudan state media had said that the participants at the meeting, which included 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha, adopted a number of decisions and measures to overcome all the obstacles facing the referendum commission ahead of the key vote due to be held next January.
Yasir Arman, the deputy SPLM Secretary General for the North Sector, slammed the ruling National Congress party (NCP) headed by Bashir saying that it is buying time and lacks the political will to clear the impediments to holding the referendum.
The SPLM official said in press statements that the outstanding items such as financing the referendum commission or other technical issues could be resolved in one month should the NCP possess the will.
He warned that there are several options for the ex-Southern rebel group should the referendum process break down including de-legitimizing the federal government or having all political powers unite to present the alternative for the government.
Arman however went back to say that this is a stage has not yet been reached and that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) need to be implemented.
Furthermore, he stressed that the remaining 100 days before the referendum date should be enough to complete all its prerequisites and that there is no excuse to ask for any postponement or extension.
The referendum commission which only recently appointed its secretary general after long delay, announced this week that registering Southern voters will start next month which will also include expatriates.
The referendum is a key provision of the 2005 peace deal that ended the south’s 22-year civil war with the north, during which about two million people were killed in a conflict fueled by religion, ethnicity, ideology and natural resources, including oil.
Many observers believe that the commission has little time to complete its work before January. Furthermore, the NCP insists that referendum cannot take place without agreeing on post-referendum arrangements such as the border demarcation.