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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan Lueth says discussions on referendum law should be honest

By Ngor Arol Garang

September 14, 2009 (ABYEI) – A southern Sudan minister said today discussions on referendum law should not be win-win or loose –loose issue but need an honest discussion to arrive at peaceful, non regrettable and Sudanese applauded conclusions.

South Sudan's information minister Michael Makuei Lueth, October 14, 2008 (ST/File)
South Sudan’s information minister Michael Makuei Lueth, October 14, 2008 (ST/File)
Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Michael Makuei Lueth, who is part of a joint political committee to discuss pending in the 2005 peace agreement implementation, arrived yesterday to Khartoum to resume talks with the National Congress Party n the referendum issue as census results.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from Khartoum, the minister discussions are losing meaning since they have been repeatedly resumed without reaching conclusions.

“It is long since we started on only two issues, the referendum bill and census and yet no conclusion has so far been reached,” he said adding that “others (NCP delegation) want to pass time so everything is postponed.”

The SPLM wants the electoral commission to use the percentages of the 1956 census for the geographical constituencies but the NCP vehemently rejects the idea.

On the referendum, the NCP insists that 75% votes in the affirmative to declare it favoring independence while the SPLM is pushing for a 51%. It is widely expected that Southerners would vote overwhelmingly for independence.

“This is not possible” he said, adding “there are no times we ever started to reach conclusions without raising and placing impossible demands.”

Lueth who has been quiet on issue for some time albeit being SPLM legal advisor in the high executive political teams shared by both Vice Taha and GOSS Vice President Dr. Riek added that no side should be expect the other to suffer constant concession, the Sudanese needs honest discussion whose conclusions should enjoy equal appreciations.

Asked what have the two parties agreed at least today, he said “nothing has been agreed since the talks resumed yesterday. The NCP team members said will have to meet themselves first today before meeting us in our normal discussions later this evening. But it is already getting evening yet we do not know whether they have agreed on something or not,” he said.

However, he added that the joint committee will concentrate on finding a way forward on the two remaining unresolved sticking points for full implementation. “These are fundamental issues that must be resolved soon.”

“Because the census is critical to the election and of course the referendum is that vote that will decide whether the Sudan remains one united country or allow the south to secede and form another independent nation as stipulated in the CPA base on the free will of the Southerners.”