Obama commits to help solve post-vote issues in Sudan

January 10, 2011 10:02 am 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 — As south Sudan began to vote on whether to break away, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the United States will remain "fully committed" to helping the parties solve critical post-referendum issues regardless of the outcome.

"I am extremely pleased that polling has started for the southern Sudan referendum, and congratulate the people of southern Sudan who are determining their own destiny," Obama said in a statement. "This is an historic step in the years-long process to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war between north and south."

The Obama administration has been pushing for a timely referendum in south Sudan and for the outcome to be accepted without dispute.

"The international community is united and determined to ensure that all parties in Sudan live up to their obligations," Obama said. "The world will be watching in the coming days, and the United States will remain fully committed to helping the parties solve critical post-referendum issues regardless of the outcome of the vote."

The U.S. president also wrote on the Sunday's New York Times, in which he called for compromises in seeking peaceful resolution of border disputes and the status of the Abyei region which straddles north and south.

"The safety and citizenship of all Sudanese, especially minorities — southerners in the north and northerners in the south, have to be protected," he wrote. "Arrangements must be made for the transparent distribution of oil revenues, which can contribute to development. The return of refugees needs to be managed with extraordinary care to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe."

"Along with our international partners, the United States will continue to play a leadership role in helping all the Sudanese people realize the peace and progress they deserve," Obama added.

He again called for Sudan's leaders to fulfill their obligations and choose peace in return for normal relations with the United States, including the lifting of economic sanctions and the removal of Sudan from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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