South Sudan referendum free, fair, credible: IGAD

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South Sudan referendum free, fair, credible: IGAD

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Sunday described south Sudan referendum process as free, fair and credible and regarded it as a milestone in promoting peace and democratic transformation of south Sudan.

All the polling centers of south Sudan referendum in all parts of the country closed their doors Saturday marking the end of the polling process, while South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) decided to extend the voting process in one center in Australia for another five days.

"Our preliminary assessment is that the referendum process was free, fair and credible. This is a milestone in promoting peace and democratic transformation of south Sudan," Yusuf Nzibo, head of the IGAD observation mission for the referendum, said at a press conference here on Sunday.

"The process is clear evidence that there exists capacity in south Sudan to conduct a highly professional referendum that not only meets international standards, but can be emulated elsewhere in the world," he said.

Nzibo, meanwhile, expressed IGAD's commendation for the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), saying "despite the magnitude of work and the short period that was availed between the conclusion of the voter registration and the referendum date, the SSRC made all efforts to ensure that the process proceeds as planned."

"The free movement of international observers to various polling centers without any hindrance was a clear indicator of the SSRC intention to be clear and open in the whole process," he added.

The IGAD, which patronized the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ( CPA) signed between north and south Sudan in 2005, participated in monitoring the south Sudan referendum with around 55 observers.

South Sudan referendum polling centers on Saturday closed their doors, marking the end of the process at all parts of the country, while the SSRC announced that it has extended the polling period at one center in Australia for another five days.

Around 17,000 local observers together with 1,200 foreign observers are monitoring the south Sudan referendum which is the major item in the CPA, inked in January 2005 between north and south Sudan, which ended a two-decade civil war between the two sides.

VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

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