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SPLM Wary of President Bashir’s Referendum Pledge

The Secretary-General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said Thursday the party welcomes newly-sworn in President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s vow to conduct a referendum on south Sudan’s future.

Pagan Amum said, despite previous promises, President Bashir and his dominant National Congress Party (NCP) have failed to fully implement the remaining provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

“Of course, President Bashir has been saying and making this statement repeatedly but, on the ground, his party and himself have been delaying…the implementation of the CPA. Up to now, the borders have not been demarcated, the Abyei border is also not demarcated and the referendum commission is not established. There is a serious delay by the National Congress to roll out the process of the full implementation of the CPA and the conduct of the referendum in time,” he said.

Shortly after being sworn in Thursday, President Bashir told Sudan’s parliament, or national assembly, that he was committed to the stipulations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the timeline of south Sudan’s self determination referendum. He also promised to peacefully resolve the ongoing problems in the restive Darfur region.

President Bashir, along with other NCP officials, has often expressed commitment towards the full implementation of the CPA that effectively ended over two decades of civil war between the north and the south. But, the SPLM says the dominant NCP lacks the political will to keep its promises.

Amum said the NCP has avoided implementing key provisions of the peace accord.

“The most important aspects of the CPA are not implemented, that is, the border demarcation, which should have been demarcated in 2005. More than five years later, the north-south border has not been demarcated,” Amum said.

As part of the CPA, a referendum is scheduled for January that will allow southern Sudanese to determine whether to be part of Sudan or secede and become an independent country.

Amum said the SPLM will work with the NCP to implement the remaining provisions of the CPA.

“Our next move is to continue engaging the National Congress and to hold them to implement and make true this commitment that they have signed in the CPA, that they are now repeatedly saying that they are for full implementation of the CPA… In the remaining period, we want to make sure that the referendum takes place in time (and) that the results of the referendum and the choice of the people of southern Sudan be respected,” Amum said.