16:22, March 02, 2010
Sudanese president vows to preserve peace between north, south
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to preserve peace between north and south Sudan and respect the choice of the southerners if they opt for separation in the 2011 referendum, the Al-Ahdath daily reported on Tuesday.
The Sudanese president on Monday started a two-day visit to south Sudan as part of his electoral campaign for the general elections, scheduled for April this year.
"We will work to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and we will firmly respond to whoever intends to disrupt or damage it," said al-Bashir when addressing a gathering Monday in Juba, south Sudan, according to the report.
He pledged to respect the southerners' choice if they opt for separation from the north, saying that "if the southerners opted for separation in 2011 referendum, we will come to Juba stadium to celebrate with you."
The Sudanese president, however, urged for enhancing the unity between north and south Sudan, saying "we have tried the enforced unity and we want to try the voluntary unity."
In the meantime, al-Bashir declared that all suspended issues between the Sudanese government partners -- the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) -- have been resolved, referring to a recent agreement between the two sides on the issue of the population census.
Addressing a rally in the southern Sudanese town of Torit Monday where he launched his electoral campaign in south Sudan, al- Bashir said that "work on border demarcation is progressing as planned. As of today, we do not have suspended issues with the SPLM."
He stressed the government's keenness to press ahead with the development and rehabilitation process together with the education and health projects in south Sudan.
Eleven candidates are contesting with al-Bashir in the upcoming election, including Yassir Arman, candidate of the SPLM, which signed the CPA with the NCP in 2005.