Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday accepted the existence of a South Sudan state, as he validated the results of the referendum on self-determination which took place in January. On July 9, South Sudan will become the 54th country in Africa.
Results released by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) have been validated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in the presence of Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of Southern Sudan.
“Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results, because they represent the will of the southern people,” Omar al-Bashir said Monday on Sudanese television, an announcement that was met with great jubilation in southern Sudan.
Results from the independence referendum which took place between February 9 and 15 in the Sudanese region indicated that “those who voted for unity were 44,888, that is, 1.17 per cent. Those who voted for separation were 3,792,518, that is, 98.83 per cent,” announced SSRC head Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil.
Independence after transition
This election marks the birth of the 54th African state. However, the results of this referendum will not take effect until July 9, the end of a transitional period of six years set by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 21 years of civil war between North and South.
“The project has not finished […] We cannot declare independence today. Let us respect the agreement. We must go slowly so we can reach safely to where we are going,” Salva Kirr Mayardit said on January 30 after announcement of the results.
The next day, at the summit of the African Union, the Southern Sudan President again called on his counterparts to recognize the world’s 193rd state.
However, before the south’s full independence in July, the Khartoum and southern Sudanese authorities have to resolve the thorny issue of sharing oil resources and the status of the border region of Abyei.
A referendum to be held at the same time as that of Southern Sudan on the oil-rich Abyei region (to determine whether it should join the south) has been postponed indefinitely.