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NCP official urges int’l community to fulfill commitments to south Sudan referendum

August 30, 2010 (KHARTOUM) - A senior Sudanese official has appealed to the international community to fulfill its commitments towards south Sudan’s referendum on self-determination and contribute to monitoring the process.

Presidential Adviser Salah Gosh, speaks to the press, as the SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum (R), listens on in Khartoum, on August 30, 2010 (Getty)

Under the aegis of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of civil war between north and south, southern Sudanese are due to vote in a referendum in January 2011 on whether to remain united with the north or form an independent nation.

The presidential adviser for national security affairs and former intelligence chief, Salah Gosh, was quoted by Sudan’s official news agency, SUNA, yesterday as calling on the international community to fulfill its commitments to holding south Sudan’s referendum in a fair and free manner as well as contributing to the process of observation and monitoring in order to enable southern citizens to cast their votes freely and fairly.

Following a meeting held yesterday in Khartoum between the joint NCP-SPLM political committee and the AU high-level panel on CPA implementation, Gosh said that the two partners are in agreement that south Sudan’s referendum should go ahead as planned in January 2011 provided that the process be fair and free.

“We believe that the border demarcation process can be finalized before the referendum,” Gosh told reporters.

Gosh was appointed yesterday to head a joint taskforce between the NCP and the SPLM to discuss ways of resolving the current political deadlock over the demarcation of north-south borders as well as the appointment of the commission tasked with organizing a referendum on Abyei disputed area.

In what appears to be a retraction of his earlier statements on July 31 saying that the ruling issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the boundaries of the oil-producing area of Abyei “did not resolve the dispute”, Gosh said that Abyei issue had been settled and that the NCP was committed to the ruling.

He added that the peace partners would engage in a direct dialogue over the next two days to reach a settlement that satisfies all sides regarding the disputed oil-producing area of Abyei.

According to Abyei Protocol in the CPA, the area’s residents are due to vote in a simultaneous referendum to that of south Sudan to decide whether to remain part of the north or join the south if it secedes. The formation of Abyei referendum commission remains stalled.

(ST)