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Sudanese presidency instructs to finalise consultations on Darfur referendum

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May 12, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese first vice-president, Bakri Hassan Saleh has directed to finalise consultations for a referendum on the permanent administrative status of Darfur region.

Bakri Hassan Saleh (SUNA)

In accordance with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), all the residents of Darfur states should participate in simultaneous vote to decide the administrative status of Darfur region, specifically whether to keep the current states system or to have a single region with states.

The DDPD provides that the plebiscite should take place "no sooner than one year after the signing of the Agreement".

Following a meeting with Saleh on Tuesday, the head of Darfur peace office Amin Hassan Omer told reporters he briefed the first vice-president about the implementation of the Doha framework agreement signed with several former rebel groups.

Omer said that Saleh reviewed the ongoing consultations for the establishment of the Darfur Referendum Commission, "mainly the discussions with Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) about the timeline for the process".

He further said that the first vice-president instructed to accelerate work in this respect, to exert more efforts to secure voluntary return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to develop villages and towns.

The DDPD provides that the president of the republic should establish the referendum commission "in agreement with" the DRA chairperson.

If a majority of voters approves the establishment of a single region in Darfur, the DRA shall form a constitutional committee to determine the competencies of the Regional Government of Darfur. Once endorsed by the DRA and the national parliament, the regional constitution will be incorporated in the Sudanese constitution.

If the outcome of the referendum maintains the current regional system, the DRA shall continue in its capacity as the principal instrument for the implementation of the DDPD for a period of four years from the date of the signing of the DDPD on July 14, 2011.

Different sources say the ongoing discussions also include ways to extend the term of the regional authority due the delay in the implementation of the signed agreements.

Holdout rebel groups refuse the DDPD and ask to review several chapters in the framework agreement but the government refuses to concede, arguing that the document has the regional and international support.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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