18 November – Whatever the result of the referendum in Southern Sudan, it has to result in a better future for the region, UNMIS Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Haile Menkerios said today in Malakal.
The SRSG was visiting the area to familiarize himself with the Greater Upper Nile states, especially progress in preparing for the upcoming referendum (on whether the south remains united with the north or secedes).
Addressing mission staff at the end of his stay, Mr. Menkerios said UNMIS was assisting with the ballot itself as well as post-referendum processes.
“We will assist in the peace settlement between north and south after the referendum,” he said. “Tension might happen, especially on the border demarcation issue, but … war should not be used to solve any problem.”
Accompanied by UNMIS Upper Nile Sector Coordinator Hendrik Bruyn, the SRSG met with Upper Nile State Governor Simon Kun Puoch and visited several referendum registration centres, including those at Teachers Institute and Malakal Shiluk.
During his visit to Malakal Shiluk, Mr. Menkerios asked Malakal County Referendum Sub-Committee Chairman Phoebe Ajang how people living far from the centre came to register.
“The referendum sub-committee provided boats to those who live on the eastern bank (of the Nile) and some cars to the ones who live on the western bank,” said Ms. Ajang.
She added that about 300 people had registered each day at the registration centre in Malakal Shiluk, including southerners who had come from the north.
On 19 November, the SRSG travelled to Bor, Jonglei State, to meet with the local authority and UNMIS staff.