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Ban calls for renewed commitment to peace pact from Sudan ahead critical year


10 March - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Sudan to renew its commitment to the 2005 agreement which ended the long-running north-south civil war, and to ensure a peaceful transition following next year's referendum on southern secession.

“Sudan is at a critical juncture,” stressed Mr. Ban in a message delivered Tuesday by his Special Representative for Sudan Haile Menkerios to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“With elections scheduled for April and the referendum on the self-determination of southern Sudan less than one year away, the parties to the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] will need enormous support to resolve key outstanding issues,” he told participants at the IGAD gathering in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Secretary-General noted that this week's agreement to start demarcation along the north-south border is a “positive step” and that resolving the border dispute in the contested areas around Abyei, considered the link between northern and southern Sudan, to be a “core task for the parties in the year to come.”

He cautioned that post-referendum arrangements, “including wealth and power sharing between the north and the south,” are a prerequisite for a peaceful transition after the referendum in 2011.

The Secretary-General told IGAD that it has a “critical role to play in supporting the relationship between the parties” which includes resolving outstanding issues and helping both sides to establish functional, stable institutions.

In addition to backing from IGAD – which consists of six Horn of Africa nations – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, the success of the CPA depends on strong support from the international community, said the Secretary-General.