Zuma supports referendum results

[Image]Young supporters of independence must
wait another few months before it
comes into effect.
(Image: The Unofficial Stanford Blog)

[Image] Soldiers from the Sudan People’s
Liberation Army.
(Images: World Military Forum)

Clayson Monyela, spokesperson, Dept
of International Relations and Cooperation
+27 82 884 5974

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Source: the Presidency

President Jacob Zuma has announced his support of the result of the South Sudan referendum, which was revealed on 7 February 2011 by Southern Sudan Referendum Commission chairperson Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil to President Omar al-Bashir.

Almost 99% of Southern Sudanese who made their mark in the week-long referendum on independence, voted for the oil-rich region to secede from Sudan, according to the commission.

Of the 3.84-million valid votes, 98.83% were in favour of secession, with only some 14 500 blank or spoiled ballots.

These are preliminary results, stressed the commission, and a final tally will be released by 14 February.

Southern Sudan will celebrate its independence in July 2011. Its government will find itself in control of about 75% of Sudan’s 490 000 barrels of oil per day.

“North and south are drawn together in indissoluble geographic and historic bonds,” said Khalil, “and we will transcend the petty personal prejudices, the transient whims and the political aberrations.”

Peaceful and credible referendum

Zuma lauded the efforts of both President Al-Bashir and First Vice-President Salva Kiir on delivering a peaceful and credible referendum for the people of Southern Sudan.

He further praised the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and Bureau which worked efficiently under pressure.

The announcement of the result is the culmination of a long journey for the people of the Sudan, which began with the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the political wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

This effectively ended the drawn-out civil war that had claimed the lives of over 2-million people. Apart from an 11-year ceasefire which ended in 1983, the war lasted almost 50 years.

The South African government welcomed the immediate acceptance of the results of the referendum by its Sudanese counterpart. It also expressed approval of Sudan’s stated willingness to facilitate the establishment of the independent, viable state of South Sudan.

President Al-Bashir‘s acceptance of the results shows the strong political will for peace that exists among the leadership in the Sudan and sets the foundation for a harmonious co-existence between the people of the Muslim North and Christian South Sudan.

The Presidency added that South Africa stands ready to recognise and welcome the new state of South Sudan to the community of nations in July 2011 and will continue to strengthen its relations with Sudanese people from both the North and South.

South Africa has launched a number of projects in Sudan since the signing of the CPA in 2005 – these will continue and will be enhanced where necessary to support ongoing peace and goodwill between the two Sudanese neighbours.

South Africa is encouraged by the commitments of the parties to the CPA to speedily deal with outstanding post-referendum issues such as the referendum for the oil-rich Abyei border region, border demarcation, natural resources and economic issues, citizenship, security and other issues. In this regard South Africa is in full support of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel led by former President Thabo Mbeki, in facilitating the negotiations between the parties on the post-referendum issues.

On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, Zuma congratulated the people of Sudan on their historic milestone. He pledged to march with them on their journey towards peace, harmony and development for the entire Sudan region.