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Sudan's Ruling Party Proposes Extended 'Interim Period' to Resolve Issues

Vote counting during the recent southern Sudan referendum
Vote counting during the recent southern Sudan referendum

A senior member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) says an agreement between his party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to extend the “interim period” will help expedite the resolution of the outstanding issues between the north and south.

Rabie Abdelati Obeid said such an extension would not hamper the independence of southern Sudan or the formation of its government.

“For the interim period, that which is left after the announcement of the results of the referendum for self-determination of the south, when we look to it, it will be very short time to look into the crucial and very important issues like how to demarcate the borders, how to establish the relations between the two partners and also how to settle the debt of the country,” said Obeid.

“You know, to establish a country is not easy because, at least, all these issues should be settled clearly. And also, we should guarantee that this new state should have revenues that may help to provide services and also to continue to building infrastructure like roads and bridges and electricity,” he added.

Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)
Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

He said his party is still committed to what he described as a smooth, full implementation of the rest of the provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The governing NCP has urged the SPLM to agree to an extension of the interim period beyond the originally scheduled July 9 date stipulated in the CPA.

Obeid said his party’s request is not a ploy to delay what he described as the implementation of the outcome of the week-long referendum that will determine the future of the semi-autonomous south.

“This will not hinder the formation of the government of the south and this will not stop the governance in the south. But, this is only for the outstanding issues. This is not to postpone the results of the referendum for the self-determination of the south. I think that we have to differentiate between the two,” said Obeid.

“The establishment of good relations and granting the full cooperation between two countries maybe needs more than six months," he said. "We are still building relations with Egypt, with Chad and with Eritrea and other neighboring countries, and we are not satisfied yet that these relations are very strong.”

He also said that there is need for both his party and the SPLM to establish and maintain strong bilateral relations after the south becomes independent.

Meanwhile, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said his government accepts southern Sudan's vote to separate from the north.

Speaking to supporters in Sudan's River Nile state Tuesday, Mr. Bashir said the south's secession "has become a reality." He noted 99 percent of southerners voted for separation in a landmark referendum this month.

Mr. Bashir said his party will not be sad about the result but, instead, will go to the south to celebrate with the region's people.

International observers have said the vote was free, fair, and credible.