News / Africa

Sudanese Leaders Pledge All Efforts for Successful Referendum

Key leaders of north and south Sudan promised Friday to ensure that next January's planned referendum on independence for the southern region will go forward peacefully and on time. The pledges came at a meeting at the United Nations attended by world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama's presence at the U.N meeting underscored the deep concern in Washington that Sudan's north-south peace process will derail unless the referendum goes ahead as planned without violence.

A six-year Sudan peace plan reaches a climax in January when the autonomous southern region votes on independence, and the oil-rich central Abiyeh region decides whether it will join the south.

Preparations for the voting, including delineation of a prospective north-south border, are far behind schedule.

In remarks to the meeting, President Obama said the Sudanese parties are at a critical juncture and the stakes are enormous. "At this moment, the fate of millions of people hangs in the balance. What happens in Sudan in the days ahead will decide whether a people who have endured too much war move toward peace of slip backward into bloodshed. And what happens in Sudan matters to all of sub-Saharan Africa and it matters to the world," he said.

U.S. diplomacy toward Sudan has been complicated by the the Darfur conflict in western Sudan, which has led to international war crimes charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The United States shuns direct contact with the Sudanese leader and accuses him of foot-dragging on the referendum. Mr. Obama made clear that the future of U.S.-Sudan relations depends not only on a successful referendum but accountability for Darfur crimes. "Now is the moment for all nations to send a strong signal that there will be not time and tolerance for spoilers who refuse to engage in peace talks. Indeed there can be no lasting peace in Darfur, and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States, without accountability for crimes that have been committed," he said.

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha, who spoke for the National Congress Party leadership, complained of the demonization of President Bashir, and said his contributions to the north-south peace process have been critical.

Taha said the mainly-Muslim Khartoum government prefers a referendum outcome that preserves Sudan's unity, but is prepared to accept the separation of the mostly-Christian and animist south. "I would like to recall before you here the determination and willingness of our government, particularly its leader, President Bashir, to make the difficult decisions without which peace was unattainable - the most of important of which is  accepting the risk of relinquishing a cherished part of your history and future, and a valued part of your country," he said.

Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir, first vice president in the Khartoum unity government, said the northern authorities have not made unity an attractive option, and that all signs point to a secession vote.

If that occurs, he said the south is ready to work with Khartoum authorities for long-term peace and stability. "We are genuinely willing to negotiate with our brothers in the National Congress Party, and we're prepared to work in a spirit of partnership to create  peaceful and sustainable good relations between the north and southern Sudan for the long-term after the referendum. It is in our interest to see to it that northern Sudan remains a viable state, just as it should be in the interests of the north to see southern Sudan emerge also as a viable state," he said.

The north-south civil war was Africa's longest running conflict until it came to an end with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Accord or CPA. It  is believed to have killed nearly two million people while displacing  millions more.

The CPA provided for the coalition government in Khartoum and six years of autonomy for the south, to be capped by the January 9, 2011 referendum.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid