Sudan's Council of Ministers endorses the referendum law
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 14 December 2009:
Council of Ministers Endorses Voter Legislation
(Khartoum) – The national council of ministers on Sunday night unanimously endorsed the referendum law for southern Sudan, Abyei and the popular consultation laws for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The council had called for an emergency meeting headed by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and attended by his Vice-president Salva Kiir, together with presidential assistants and advisors.
President al-Bashir, First Vice-president Salva Kiir and the 2nd Vice-president Ali Osman Taha met in Khartoum on Sunday.
President al-Bashir was in a conciliatory mood after the meeting but warned against what he described as outside interference:
[Omar al-Bashir]: “This is an important session and a step towards the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We hope we will move together to accomplish the full mission of the interim period by conducting free and fair elections, which will be an example. Experience has shown that even if the political situation has worsened, when we sit together responsibly, we overcame all the hurdles. I think this is a lesson we can learn from. We have always insisted that we should not involve others, because they turn it into their business.”
The laws will be tabled before the National Assembly on Monday for debate and endorsement before the Assembly is dismissed.
The move follows a breakthrough in negotiations between the two principal partners to the CPA, the SPLM and the NCP, regarding some of the contentious issues in the CPA.
The parties agreed that a 60 percent turnout of registered voters and a 50 plus 1 percent 'Yes' vote in the referendum for self-determination, due to take place in 2011, would lead to the granting of independence for southern Sudan.
Addressing the press, SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum announced the agreement.
[Pagan Amum]: “We have reached an agreement on the three major disputed laws, which may lead to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The referendum law, self-determination for south Sudan, and the popular consultation law for both South Kordofan and Blue Nile and the referendum law for the Abyei area. This decision agreed upon by the two parties will be presented to the cabinet and then to the National Assembly. We hope that the National Assembly will be ready to adopt these laws before the end of the current session.”
Pagan Amum was speaking during a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday.