An agreement reached with South Sudan’s northern partners is scheduled to be presented to parliament Monday for deliberation and approval.
Akot Lual Arech, press secretary of the Southern Sudanese leader says both the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and President Hassan Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) showed seriousness in the negotiations that led to Sunday’s agreement.
“What we have agreed is not a new thing; it is what two parties have agreed (previously). It is a referendum on Southern Sudan and then Abyei and the general public consultation for Southern Blue Nile…so far both sides are serious about this agreement…the agreement has been brought to the Council of ministers to endorse it and then it will be taken to the parliament tomorrow (Monday),” he said.
Both the SPLM and the NCP announced the agreement Sunday ahead of next year’s general elections. The agreement includes a referendum on the possible independence of South Sudan.
One of the sticky points of the agreement was over the determination of referendum results.
The NCP sought a simple two-thirds majority while the SPLM wanted the referendum to be determined by over 50% of the vote.
The agreement ends months of tensions between the SPLM and the NCP. It comes after three key members of the SPLM were briefly arrested and released last Monday following a protest to demand democratic reforms in a rare challenge to embattled President Bashir.
Arech said Sunday’s agreement is significant.
“Because of this agreement things will have to be delayed to make sure that the agreement is passed by this parliament. According to the CPA this parliament (is) the one which should pass the referendum law and that is what they are going to do. And that is what is most important for all of us,” Arech said.
A 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended decades of civil war between the North and the South.
Arech said time is limited for the CPA’s full implementation.
“There are too many things that need to be done. But at least the most important thing for the SPLM is to make sure that this referendum law will pass by this parliament,” Arech said.
Meanwhile, U.S Special Envoy Scott Gration is reportedly in Sudan and scheduled to soon hold talks with both the SPLM and the NCP.