Solheim welcomes agreement on referendum in Sudan

“It is now important that the parties to the conflict in Sudan do their utmost to resolve the remaining problems and ensure implementation of all parts of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

This week the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) announced that they had concluded negotiations on the new act on the referendum to be held in 2011.

“Sudan is now at an important crossroads that will determine the future of the peace process. It is encouraging that the parties appear to have reached agreement on important aspects of the peace agreement,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim, who will visit Sudan in January together with State Secretary Ingrid Fiskaa.

Norway presumes that the elections for president, governors and members of legislative assemblies in April 2010 will be conducted in a free and fair manner in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

“It should go without saying that all people in Sudan must have the right to express their views without risking detention in connection with peaceful demonstrations,” said Mr Solheim.

The two parties have now reached agreement on the referendum, the future of the oil-rich border region of Abyei and the future status of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. However, they still disagree on issues related to the election act and the national security service. The border between Northern and Southern Sudan has not yet been clearly determined either.

“Norway is willing to assist the parties, particularly in the negotiations on the oil sector. This is something both parties are interested in,” said Mr Solheim.


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