Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir officially accepted the final results of Southern Sudan Referendum paving the way for the proclamation of an independent state in the region.
President Al-Bashir on Monday issued a Republican Decree accepting final result of the referendum which supports the separation of the South, after the official promulgation of the results in Khartoum on Monday.
"We declare our acceptance of the southern Sudan people’s choice and we pledge to work for resolving the outstanding issues and build constructive relations between north and south Sudan," said a decree read by the Minister of Presidency Affairs Bakri Hassan Salih.
The final result was formally submitted on Monday to Sudan President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir by the chairperson of Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, who said that a total of 98.83 percent of voters opted for independence in the weeklong referendum whose commission organized last month.
Khalil also said that no legal challenges had been lodged against the result and that the referendum was conducted in "a fair and transparent" manner.
Upon receipt of the results at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, President Al-Bashir said he welcomes the choice of south Sudan people.
"We are with the choice of the southern citizen and sustaining peace in the north and the south" Al-Bashir said.
The nation-in-waiting will officially come to being in July 2011 when the 2005’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended more than two decades of north-south civil war and granted the referendum, expires.
North and South Sudan are engaged in intermittent talks to thrash out a set of post-referendum issues; including sharing of oil revenues, demarcation of borders and the status of the hotly contested border region of Abyei.
Later on in the afternoon, the council of ministers held a session in Khartoum attended by President Al-Bashir and Sudan’s First Vice-President and President of Southern Sudan Government Salva Kiir Mayadrit to announce the results.
Al-Bashir delivered a speech in which he reiterated welcoming of the result and pledged to resolve post-referendum arrangements before the end of the CPA timeline.
"We promised to give the people of the south the right to self-determination…now that they have chosen independence, we will keep our promise," he said.
"As to post-referendum [arrangements]" Al-Bashir added "we are resolved to reach an agreement on them before the end of the transitional period."
For his part, South Sudan president Salva Kiir lauded the north’s recognition of the new state, saying it would pave the way for other countries to follow suit.
"If the north does not recognize the south no other state will," Kiir said.
The Southern Sudan President said that the secession of the south is not the end of the road. "We will not become enemies of each other and will make sure our relationship remains strong," he further said.
He added that the borders between north and south Sudan would only be "on papers" and there would be no restrictions on movement of trade and citizens.
Kiir said there was a need to expedite the process of resolving post-referendum arrangements before July.
The deputy head of the SSRC and Chairman of Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau Justice Chan Reec Madut old reporters that the official proclamation of the South Sudan Independence will take place in July with end of the interim period as it is agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Chan urged to encourage the two peace partners to resolve outstanding issues and pave the way for joint cooperation between the two countries.
The announcement was quick to receive acceptance and generate pledges of recognition from a number of countries and international organizations.
U.S President Barack Obama said he was pleased “to announce the intention of the United States to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011."
In London, the British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed announcement of the referendum results and the positive reaction of the government in Khartoum. He also pledged that United Kingdom will continue to support the settlement of the remaining issues.
The European Union’s (EU) representative in Sudan, Carlo de Filippi, said that “the EU looks forward to further developing a close and long term partnership with Southern Sudan which is set to become a new state in July 2011."
The United Nations Secretary-General’s Panel on the Referenda in the Sudan, which was established at the behest of the CPA’s partners to monitor the referendum, gave the process the seal of approval and welcomed its results.
"The outcome reflects the free will of the people of Southern Sudan and that the process as a whole was free, fair and credible."
A statement released by the Spokesperson for the U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon welcomed the announcement and hailed the peaceful and credible conduct of the referendum.
The UN chief called on north and south Sudan to expedite an agreement on post-referendum arrangements, including Abyei.