New York, 16 November 2010 – In today’s speech before the UN Security Council - two months before the referendum on independence to be held in Southern Sudan - Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger emphasised that it was urgently necessary to press ahead with preparations for a free and fair referendum: “The period until 9 January is short and we are running out of time. Urgent problems such as the drawing of borders, the distribution of oil revenues and the question of citizenship have to be resolved before this date. But one thing is clear: no matter what the outcome of the referendum, the will of the people must be implemented.”
Thus, the Foreign Minister called for a clear signal by the UN Security Council to Sudan: “For the Sudanese people, everything is at stake. Another civil war could trigger a domino effect and sweep along the entire region. All those concerned must be aware that renewed bloodshed must be prevented at all costs”, continued Spindelegger.
At a high-ranking summit in September, which was also attended by President Barack Obama, the Foreign Minister had already offered Austrian support to his interlocutors: “Northern and Southern Sudan have accepted our offer to provide legal expertise during the preparatory phase of the referendum. During last week’s Sudan Conference, which was attended by representatives of both sides, it became clear that there is consensus on one decisive point: there can be permanent peace and security for the people in the region only if the two sides continue their collaboration after the referendum. Northern and Southern Sudan continue to be dependent on each other”, concluded Spindelegger.
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