18 October 2010 - UNMIS respects the decision by Sudan's peace agreement parties to hold the referenda on time, but advises that no shortcuts should be taken in the process, Special Representative to the Secretary-General (SRSG) Haile Menkerios said at a press conference today.
"Decisions made in the next few weeks are likely to determine Sudan's path for years to come," said Mr. Menkerios, speaking to journalists at UNMIS headquarters in Khartoum.
The SRSG added that the international community was fully committed to support the two parties – the National Congress Party and Sudan People's Liberation Movement – to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
But he advised that any shortcuts could jeopardize credibility of the self-determination referenda, scheduled for 9 January 2011, and the legitimacy of their outcome.
Addressing security, Mr. Menkerios said UNMIS was constantly assessing the needs of Sudan in preparation for the referenda process.
In line with the mission's mandate to support the parties in providing security, he said UNMIS had adjusted deployment of its existing troops deployed throughout the cease-fire zone.
"We made some deployment from our reserves in order to reinforce continued patrolling (done together) with the JIUs (Joint Integrated Units) in the area, other civilian units from the UN and the Joint Integrated Police Units in Abyei in order to defuse any possible tension that may occur," Mr. Menkerios said.