18 November -- The UN panel monitoring Southern Sudan's referendum would be satisfied with the process if it was carried out peacefully, freely and without intimidation, one of its members said in Wau today.
During a meeting with Acting Governor Western Bahr El-Ghazal State Governor Effisio Kon, former Portugese Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Monteiro added that the panel would make recommendations once voting was completed.
Stressing that the referendum (on whether to remain united with the north or secede) was a step marking the end of the country's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the former minister urged people to register for the vote.
The UN Secretary-General's Panel on the Referenda in the Sudan , led by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkaba, had toured two registration centres in the area to acquaint themselves with the exercise. "The visit's aim is to monitor, supervise and facilitate the process," said Mr. Monteiro.
Acting Governor Kon told the delegation, which also includes Bhojraj Pokharel, former Chairman of the Election Commission of Nepal, that he was convinced registration would be peaceful.
Adding that he had visited 27 registration centres the day before, Mr. Kon said that security was being well maintained by the state government. "The government is supporting the process to see that it is free and fair and carried out in a peaceful environment."
However, he also pointed to a few logistical challenges, such as means of transport, communication and food for referendum staff, including police providing security.