S.Africa foreign minister calls for on-time Sudan referendum
PRETORIA — South Africa's foreign minister called Tuesday for the upcoming referendum on independence for south Sudan to go ahead as scheduled, saying outstanding issues could be resolved after the vote.
"We support the decision of the Sudanese leadership that the north and south should go ahead with implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to ensure the referendum takes place on time," Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told journalists.
"Issues that cannot be agreed on now can be agreed post the referendum."
Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold an independence referendum on January 9, part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Khartoum and Juba that ended the longest-running civil war in Africa.
The oil-rich region of Abyei is also scheduled to hold a referendum the same day on whether to link up with the south.
But the referendum commission is struggling to organise the ballots with less than 10 weeks to go.
The head of the commission said Thursday it would take "a miracle" for voting to go ahead as scheduled, with a timetable that left no room for error and funding delays from international donors.
Analysts have warned that delaying the referenda could lead to renewed conflict in Africa's largest nation.