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US Special Envoy pledges support for holding referendum in JanuaryUS Special Envoy pledges support for holding referendum in January

Monday 23 August 2010August 22, 2010 (RENK) – Washington’s Special Envoy to Sudan, General Scot Gration pledged that his government was committed to supporting a “credible” and on schedule referendum on southern self-determination while visiting the autonomous region on Saturday.

Gration made the comments on a visit to Aweil, capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, following a meeting with the southern Sudanese President, Salva Kiir in Juba.Garang Kuot Kuot, Secretary General of state government, in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday, said that the visit was to assess the feelings of the local people and the level of preparation for upcoming referendum.Kuot said that Gration “pledged [the] commitment of the American government to support conduct of the referendum and […] to establish […] direct cooperation [between the] American government and people with our people and [the] government of Northern Bahr el Ghazal”, Kuot said.Thanking local population for the large turnout for his visit, Gration described it as one of the biggest receptions he ever seen accorded to foreign diplomats.Kuot said that the large reception “was basically to show the level of their love for support they have been getting from Americans people and their successive governments.”
“It was a sincere sign of an expression appreciating Americans support for peace and stability in Sudan”, Kuot said.In 2005 the National Congress Party (NCP) signed a deal with former rebels the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to end 22 years of civil war between north and south.

“The American people and government have consistently showed unwavering support and assurance of commitment to assist the two parties in the implementation of the agreement”, said Kuot.Gration was reported to have told state authorities that the United States would help the NCP, who control the central government, and the SPLM, who control the south under a 2005 peace deal, to conduct a fair referendum.The “American government remains committed to supporting the two parties hold credible referendum”, Gration said.He further added that United States supported holding the referendum on schedule on 9 January, 2011.The “American government and people support holding referendum on time because the mood and expectations of the people of southern Sudan are so high that delaying the conduct of referendum would not be the best decision,” said Gration. He said the United States was committed to reconstructing southern Sudan and that the US would continue its engagement and support.Gration was given a warm welcome with a traditional animal skin made hat, known locally as an Ajom in Dinka culture.”I am much more than happy for such a huge welcome, I thank you all. It is one of the greatest honors I have ever received and will consider visiting you again for more time with you,” said Gration.Gration’s visit, with eight diplomats, was the Special Envoy’s first to Aweil since his appointment in March last year.

Source: Sudan Tribune