24 August 2010 - Meeting with Western Bahr El Ghazal State Governor Riziq Zakaria Hassan during a visit to Wau today, UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Sudan Jasbir Singh Lidder said the country's peace process was on track.
Mr. Lidder and the governor discussed security-related issues and ongoing preparations for the Southern Sudan referendum scheduled to take place on 9 January 2011.
The DSRSG acknowledged that some challenges had arisen recently that would require political decisions and commitments on the part of the two parties to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but he expressed overall satisfaction with its implementation.
"The internal conflicts are reducing, there are better initiatives and a better environment is being built up" He said. "Our aim is to consolidate this environment further so that the referendum is held."
Mr. Lidder told Governor Hassan that UNMIS would play a role of support and facilitation to help the CPA parties conduct the referendum "in a timely, transparent and credible manner."
The DSRSG noted a request from the National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement for the United Nations to expand its role during the referendum process to include a monitoring function, and that will be carried out a high-level panel of three eminent persons nominated by the UN Secretary-General.
Mr. Lidder said that the peacekeeping mission's presence will extend to the county level in southern Sudan with the formation of referendum bases, in contrast to the run-up to last April's general election when the support role played by UNMIS focused on the state level.
"We are going to increase our presence in the field to reach into all 79 counties," he said.
For his part, Governor Hassan told the DSRSG that preparations were going forward in Western Bahr El Ghazal despite some hurdles that had arisen such as recent incursions into the state by units of the Lord's Resistance Army rebels.
"We have formed a State Referendum High Committee and nominated officials at the county level to make the process succeed," he said. "All our effort is to make the process free and fair so that people can decide their own future and destiny freely."