January 31, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government today declared that it accepts the preliminary results of the referendum in the South Sudan which came overwhelmingly in favor of independence.
- Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Taha speaks during a news conference in Khartoum, Jan 31, 2011. (Reuters)
"We declare our agreement and our acceptance of the preliminary results of the referendum announced yesterday and we will directly embark on the arrangements which will follow this phase," said Sudan’s Vice-President Ali Osman Taha in a press conference held in Khartoum on Monday.
"We wish our brothers in the South good luck and a fruitful future in organizing the issues surrounding the new country," he added.
This month, millions of Southerners inside Sudan and abroad cast their ballots to decide on the fate of the semi-autonomous region whether it should remain united with the North or secede.
The results will become final in February after the expiration of the appeal period during which challenges can be made. Taha said the official announcement of the new South Sudan state would be made by the presidency.
The new state will see the light legally at the end of the interim period on July 9th.
The North and the South however have to resolve a number of contentious post-referendum issues such as Abyei, border demarcation, citizenship, oil sharing, national debt and international agreements.
The Sudanese Vice-President expressed hope that the "positive spirit" encountered during the referendum process would lead to containing any tensions resulting from the disagreement on these outstanding items.
He emphasized that both sides are genuine in their efforts to find a political settlement to the issue of the Abyei and prevent any unilateral decisions.
"We have agreed that the current administrative, political and security arrangements at Abyei would continue," Taha said.
More than 37 people died in clashes in Abyei earlier this month, amid deadlock over the delayed plebiscite on whether it stays with the North or joins the South. The main point of disagreement is on who is eligible to vote.
"It has been agreed that joint forces would be dispatched in Abyei and remove the South Sudan Police force which recently entered the area," Taha said.
The Sudanese Vice-president further said a smooth arrangement would be made with regard to dismissing Southerners employees in civil administration and military services.
He also underscored that the North and South both ruled out any prospects of dual citizenship.
At the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa, Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir recalled his government’s facilitation of the referendum process and called for support from the international community particularly with regard to debt and unilateral sanctions imposed by the US.