The Southern Sudanese government has denied issuing an ultimatum to the National Congress Party (NCP) over disagreements about the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (SPA).<!-- IMAGE -->
This followed reports that opposition political parties, including the Southern Sudanese government had threatened to boycott the scheduled April 2010 general election if the NCP fails to fully implement the CPA.
But Juba denied issuing the ultimatum, saying it wanted the NCP to expedite implementation of the agreement.
Political observers expressed worry the "ultimatum" controversy could worsen the already heightened political tensions ahead of next year's election.
Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who heads the government of Southern Sudan's mission to the United States, said that his government has demonstrated its desire for a democratically unified Sudan.
"The SPLM (Sudan's People Liberation Movement) has shown to the Sudanese people we can work to transform the country into a better Sudan for all the people of Sudan," Gatkuoth said.
He said the South wants change from oppression from the North.
"What we are basically saying is that we need to transform from a dictatorial regime for the last 20 years to a democratic system where all of us as Sudanese can enjoy," he said.<!-- IMAGE -->
Gatkuoth said the recent meeting of all opposition political parties held in Juba will decide the next line of action if the NCP fails to implement the CPA by the end of November.
"Agreements that have been signed in Sudan must be implemented before the 30th November, and if there are some pending issues that are not implemented after the 30th of November, then we are going to sit again as political parties and see… the best way forward," Gatkuoth said.
He denied the SPLM is undermining the country's unity.
"For the last four years we have been struggling as SPLM to make the CPA implemented and also to make the unity attractive to the people of Southern Sudan. But the National Congress Party has been making it very difficult for unity to be attractive," he said.
Gatkuoth said there are indications residents of Southern Sudan would prefer secession.
"If I can be honest to you if you do a referendum today, 98 percent of the people of Southern Sudan will vote for separation and that is a clear case… for us having this conference is another way also to reach out to all the Sudanese people to see if we can rescue the country (from) disintegration," Gatkuoth said.<!-- IMAGE -->
He said the agreement seeks to ensure Sudanese have the right to choose their leaders.
"The CPA has addressed two issues; one of them is democratic transformation of the country into a better democratic system in the country. The second one is the referendum or the self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan," he said.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement effectively ended Sudan's over two decades civil war between the North and the South.<!-- IMAGE -->