US expresses concern over Sudan’s planned Referendum in Darfur

Lagos  – The U. S. Government on Monday
expressed concern over the Sudanese Government’s plans to conduct a
Referendum on Darfur’s political future.

The African Media Hub of the U.S. Department of State said in
a statement that the government expressed “serious concern” over the
referendum, scheduled to hold from April 11 to 13.

According to the statement, the planned referendum will undermine the
peace process now underway.

“The U.S. expresses serious concern regarding the Government
of Sudan’s plans to conduct a referendum on April 11-13 over the
political future of Darfur.

“If held under current rules and conditions, a referendum on the
status of Darfur cannot be considered a credible expression of the
will of the people of Darfur,’’ it said.

The statement also noted that the current state of insecurity in
Darfur and inadequate registration of Darfuris in Internally Displaced
Persons (IDP) camps would prevent adequate participation in the
referendum.

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It also frowned at the recent Darfur Referendum Commission
announcement that Darfuris living outside Darfur would be ineligible
to vote, adding that this would disenfranchise millions of Darfuri
refugees and those in the IDP camps.

The statement said that “lasting peace’’ would be achieved in Sudan
through a political process that addresses the underlying causes of
the Darfur conflict.

It also said that peace would be attained through a political process
that secures a lasting cessation of hostilities, encourages the
participation of Darfuri groups and an inclusive national dialogue.

“The announced Darfur Referendum will contradict these key objectives
and the broader goal of peace and stability in Darfur.

“The U.S. will continue to support the people of Sudan who
wish to advance peaceful governance and inclusive participatory
politics for long-term stability in Sudan,’’ the statement added. (NAN)

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