|Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha speaks at a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 4, 2010. A referendum on whether Sudan's disputed Abyei area should join the country's north or south can not be conducted unless a satisfactory agreement between the two tribes in the oil-rich region is reached, Taha said Monday. (Xinhua/Mohammed Babiker)
KHARTOUM, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- A referendum on whether Sudan's disputed Abyei area should join the country's north or south can not be conducted unless a satisfactory agreement between the two tribes in the oil-rich region is reached, Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha said Monday.
"Abyei referendum can not be conducted unless an agreement is reached on the outstanding issues in a way that satisfies the two tribes of Miseria and Dinka Ngok, and we hope that the talks between the two sides would come out with a satisfactory agreement ", Taha said Monday at a press conference.
The Abyei referendum is expected to be conducted on the same day as a referendum scheduled for Jan. 9, 2011 on whether south Sudan should separate.
Talks between representatives of the Sudanese government partners, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) began on Monday in the Ethiopian city of Mek'ele to discuss two outstanding issues hampering the Abyei referendum including participation of the Miseria tribe in the referendum and the issue of border demarcation.
The Sudanese vice president further reiterated his party's commitment to conducting south Sudan referendum as scheduled.
"It is important that this referendum leads to sustaining the peace. This can not be achieved but through agreements on the referendum mechanisms and its results together with ensuring that it is free, fair and transparent and reflects the will of the southerners," he added.
Taha criticized what he termed as the SPLM procrastination towards overcoming the outstanding issues, in particular the border demarcation and post-referendum arrangements.
"We call on the SPLM to end its boycotting of the border demarcation meetings so that the file would be concluded," he said.
Taha, in the meantime, lashed out at the U.S policy towards Sudan, saying that "the American stance encourages and accepts south Sudan separation and seeks to prepare the international community to accept it. However, from our view of point, we believe that separation of south Sudan will not serve the interests of the southern Sudanese citizens."
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