IGAD Summit looks at progress of the Sudanese peace

NAIROBI, Kenya (NSV) - Five years after its mediation of Sudanese peace deal, the East African regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Develepment(IGAD),  urged at its Summit  both SPLM and NCP to recommit to absolute  implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agremement by resolving any remaining issues before the 2011 referendum exercise.

igad Southern Sudan leader Salva Kiir [R-front] and Sudan's 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha [L-front] attend the 14th Extra Ordinary Summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority Heads of State and Government at the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi, Kenya, 09 Mar 2010. Photo by (AFP)

Attended by seven heads of  state and government, the Summit benefited tremendously from the inputs shared by Sudanese First Vice Presdient and President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir and Second Vice President  Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, both addressed the gathering.

Although he was invited,Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir failed to attend for fear of arrest since Kenya is one of the signatories to the ICC statute that calls for enforcing of arrest warrants.

"For (southerners), the right of self-determination is one their biggest political achievements in the CPA and they will defend it at any cost," Kiir said, adding that "The people of Southern Sudan even attach more importance to the referendum than the elections."

The 2005 peace deal that was signed in Kenya is nearing its six year implementation with key milestones beginning with the presidential, parliamentary and governatorial elections in April 2010 and referendum in 2011.

Southern Sudanese, who have been given semi-autonomy by the CPA in the form of current  regional government (GoSS) , will decide in January 2011 whether to secede and become an independent nation or remain under united Sudan.

"Come January 2011 the Southern voters will make their long-anticipated choice between unity and secession.While we reaffirm our unequivocal commitment to respect the choice of the people of Southern Sudan, we clearly state that our vision and hope (is) that unity of Sudan will be the free choice and outcome of the referendum," said Ali Osman Taha.

IGAD leadership  praised  SPLM and NCP for resolving some key issues last years but also urged both sides to begin working on post-referendum arrangments.

For the last five years the system of power and oil revenue-sharing has worked but there is uncertainty as what might happen if the outcome of  the referendum were to result in independence for the South .


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