Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-02-02-Speech-3-206-000"

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"Mr President, we are very pleased that the referendum in Southern Sudan has passed off so peacefully. Our observers are united in their praise for what they saw during the observation mission. They have also given a positive assessment of the referendum itself from the viewpoint of the standards we promote. The referendum was credible and well-organised, and it gave voters the opportunity to make their views heard. The importance that Southern Sudanese citizens attached to this referendum was also plain to see, with a turn-out of 60% being achieved by the fourth day. This is clear testimony to how determined the people are to achieve self-determination. President Bashir has often been criticised by this House, but this time we should give him credit for the statement he made on 24 January in Juba, to which Mrs Ashton referred. He announced that he would recognise any decision made on the basis of the referendum, even if that meant the secession of Southern Sudan, and everything points to the fact that those living in the region have made their wishes extremely clear. I would echo the wishes and hopes voiced by others that, if Sudan is in fact split into two countries, they will enjoy a peaceful co-existence. It is now important for the peaceful atmosphere that reigned during the referendum to be followed by a peaceful period during which the results can be announced and the two states can undergo transformations. Many observers are afraid that the current wave of riots and democratic demands in several countries, including Sudan, could become an excuse to freeze the peace process and will make it impossible for ambitious plans to be put into effect. The outlook in some quarters is positive, on the other hand, for example in the African Union, which is known to be ready to recognise the independence of the new African state. We must also be aware that the referendum is not the end of the matter, and that ultimate success means realising the wishes of those living in Sudan. As we know, their wishes may be granted on 9 July 2011, when the independence of Sudan will be proclaimed, and only then will we be able to celebrate the end of this bloody and long-standing conflict."@en1

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