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Ban Ki-moon tells Sudanese political groups to not risk stalling South Sudan referendum

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Craig Ruttle/AP

(Read caption) Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice President of Sudan, left, meets with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon at the United Nations headquarters Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010.

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s latest quarterly report on Sudan highlighted some concerning trends in the political and security situation leading up to the referenda and the end of the CPA period. The UN released the report in mid-October, which covered a reporting period of July 19 to Sept. 30.

On referendum and post-referendum preparations, Ban rightly placed responsibility on the two Sudanese ruling parties, highlighting the political disagreement between the NCP and the SPLM that is hindering critical technical preparations for the two votes. Not mincing his words, the secretary general said in his recommendations:

There is simply no time remaining for political confrontation and stalemates. Bearing in mind their obligation to the Sudanese people, I call upon the Comprehensive Peace Agreement parties to rise to the occasion and take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate real leadership by finding solutions that address all of the legitimate concerns at stake.

Currently, preparations for the southern referendum are stalled over incomplete funding from both the national and southern Sudanese governments as well as the international community. Just one week out from when registration is slated to begin – a process that will be critically important for the credibility of the vote – the hiring and training of registration staff are still incomplete. (To keep track of the vote’s logistical progress, check back on this handy chart from the U.S. State Department.) Talks on post-referendum issues, which began promisingly in July, “have made little progress in reaching agreement on key substantive issues.” Meanwhile, elections still have to be held in Southern Kordofan, and “uncertainty” over funding for the commission created to conduct popular consultations in Blue Nile State is a “significant concern,” according to the secretary general.

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