April 14, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Secretary General of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) Pagan Amum said he is prepared to vote for unity in the 2011 referendum provide certain conditions are met.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the North and South Sudan in 2005 will allow the later to decide if they want their own independent state or whether they wish to remain part of Sudan.
“My choice is based on the SPLM agenda which is to build a new Sudan where all citizens are equal as partners in one nation” Amum said in an interview with the Kuwaiti based Al-Raay newspaper.
“We are never with the separation principle but we support it if the conditions for unity, justice and equality among the people of the same country are not available as well as a democratic society” he added.
The SPLM official said that the right of self determination for Southerners “is an acknowledgement for the rights of the citizen and not a suppression of it”.
Amum denied that the desire to separate among Southerners is due to difference in religion with the North being predominantly Muslim adding that this perception was created by “tyrants who ruled Sudan and wanted to distance us from Arabs and Muslims”
He revealed that ex-Sothern rebel group promised the US administration that it will support “the new national Sudan project” through revitalizing the CPA, bringing peace on the ground to Darfur and improving the humanitarian situation there.
Responding to criticism that the South lacks democracy, he said that the SPLM is working to “create a radical change in the political, social and economic structure in the Sudanese society”.
“The authority should not be in the hand of a few people in society at the top and those who control the wealth which belongs to all Sudanese people” Amum said.
Many observers including US officials say it is all but certain that the South will choose to secede in the end of the six years interim period that started since the CPA was signed.
Some SPLM officials have expressed fears that delay in implementing key provisions of the CPA such as census, elections and dispute over Abyei may push the referendum further away. The South insists that it should be held on time.