BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council and some world major countries have voiced their respect for the final referendum results in southern Sudan, which showed an overwhelming majority opted for secession from the north.
In a presidential statement issued on Wednesday, the UN Security Council lauded the final results of the referendum, and called on the international community to support the Sudanese people in their efforts to build a peace and prosperous future.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's permanent representative to the UN and the rotating president of the Security Council for February, read the statement during an open-door meeting on the region, two days after the South Sudan Referendum Commission announced that 98.83 percent of the voters had voted for separation.
According to the results of the referendum, which is part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), southern Sudan is due to announce its independence on July 9.
The 15-nation UN Security Council congratulated the parties of the 2005 peace agreement, which ended a 20-year civil war between the north and south that reportedly claimed the lives of some 2 million people and left millions more displaced.
Welcoming the statements of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir and Vice President Salva Kirr which accepted the final results of the referendum, the Council urged "all member states to respect the outcome of the referendum."
Peace and stability hinges on the "full and timely implementation of the CPA," the statement said.
U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement on Monday that the United States congratulated the people of southern Sudan on their successful referendum and voiced Washington's intention to formally recognize southern Sudan as an independent state in July.
Urging the south and north to fully implement the CPA and peacefully resolve outstanding disputes, Obama pledged to work with the governments of Sudan and southern Sudan to "ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to independence."
Also on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the referendum was a landmark event in the implementation of the CPA, adding that Washington was initiating the process of withdrawing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday hailed the "historic moment for Sudan" upon the announcement of the final results of the Jan. 9-15 referendum, terming it as "timely and credible."
"The EU fully respects the outcome of the referendum as a true reflection of the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Southern Sudan," Ashton said.
The EU looks forward to developing a "close and long-term partnership" with southern Sudan, which is set to become a new state by July according to a peace agreement, Ashton added.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the 13 countries and organizations witnessing the signing of the CPA welcomed the final results of the referendum and pledged to continue their support for the post-referendum efforts in Sudan.
The 13 countries and organizations are Egypt, Kenya, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Uganda, Britain, the United States, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which is a seven-nation regional development organization in East Africa.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday that China respects the results of south Sudan referendum.
"China respects the choice of Sudanese people and appreciates the unremitting efforts of both north and south to promote the peace process between the two sides," Hong said.
"China hopes the two sides will continue to resolve controversial issues through dialogue and consultation in line with the principle of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation," he said.
Some media and analysts believe there are still an array of thorny issues to be ironed out by the two sides in Sudan, including border demarcation, citizenship, oil revenue division and the status of the oil-rich Abyei area, which straddles the north-south border and is claimed by both.
As The New York Times said, there are still a number of delicate and potentially combustible issues that need to be resolved before Sudan can peacefully break in two, namely how the two sides would share the south's sizeable reserves of crude oil and what to do about the Abyei region.
"Oil may ultimately hold Sudan together. Though the south produces about 75 percent of Sudan's crude, its is landlocked, and the pipeline to export the oil runs through the north. Cutting the flow, which provides both north and south with a huge percentage of government revenue, could be a disaster for both sides," it said in an overview of Sudan updated Tuesday.
A separate referendum for the status of Abyei was initially planned to be held along with the south Sudan referendum, but was held off because of disagreements about voter eligibility. Currently, it is slated to be negotiated by the end of March.