US Confident of Successful Vote In Sudan

US Confident of Successful Vote In Sudan
# 06 January 2011 01:13 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The chief U.S. diplomat to Africa says he believes the southern Sudan independence referendum will be peaceful and successful, APA reports quoting “The Voice of America”.

Speaking with reporters in Washington Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said he believes Sunday’s vote will “reflect the will of the people” and will be “well-organized.”

Almost 4 million southern Sudanese are registered to vote in the referendum, which is the centerpiece of the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan’s north-south civil war.

The Obama administration has expressed increased optimism about the vote since Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the southern capital of Juba on Tuesday.

Carson said the U.S. is “extraordinarily pleased” by the visit, in which Mr. Bashir stressed his willingness to seek strong relations with the south, even if it votes for independence.

Carson promised intensive U.S. support for southern Sudan, economically and politically, if it chooses to secede.

Carson said the U.S. has quadrupled its diplomatic presence in Juba, in anticipation of helping the possible new state succeed. Several U.S. officials will have a high-profile presence in the country for the week-long voting period, beginning on Sunday.

Kenya also reaffirmed its support for southern Sudan Wednesday, saying it will have financial, logistical and humanitarian support ready for the now semi-autonomous region after the vote. The country also pledged $2.8 million in aid for southern Sudan by June.