Delegation head Dr. Susan Rice of the United States underscored the Council’s support for self-determination referenda in Southern Sudan and Abyei that are “on time, peaceful and credible (and) consistent” with the country’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The visit was a follow-up to last month’s high-level meeting on Sudan held under UN auspices in New York that produced a communiqué calling on the international community to respect the outcome of the referenda if they meet those stipulated criteria.
“We are here to reinforce that message and the determination of the council to support you and all parties to the CPA in that process,” said Ambassador Rice.
But she also noted that the “core responsibility” for successful implementation of the CPA remains in the hands of the regional Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), the national government based in Khartoum and the Sudanese people.
The visit to the police-training academy was particularly significant, as the Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) will play a central role in crowd control and the securing of polling centres and ballot boxes during the referendum, scheduled to take place in the country’s southern states on 9 January 2011.
“The UN has been one of the key components in the support that we are getting for the development of the police and in training these recruits… from the 10 states,” said GoSS Minister for Internal Affairs Gier Chuang Aluong.
Since last July, UN Police advisers have trained over 11,500 SSPS officers in referendum security procedures and regulations throughout Southern Sudan, according to UNMIS Police Commissioner Rajesh Dewan.
An initial group of 5,400 police cadets who began to receive instruction at the Rejaf training facility in January is expected to graduate at the end of this month, and a second group of 4,000 cadets will subsequently start their training.
On 6 October, the delegation held a two-hour closed-door meeting with senior Southern Sudanese officials led by GoSS President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
“The discussions were mainly on the ongoing processes as we move towards the end of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” said the Minister in the Office of the President, Dr. Cirino Hitend Ofuho.
The delegation travelled to Darfur on Thursday afternoon. Its members will complete their four-day tour of the country in the national capital of Khartoum on 9 October.