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Sudan

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the new agreement between the National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement on the rules for the forthcoming referendum in the south of Sudan; what reports he has received on the eligibility to register and vote of (a) southerners living in the north of Sudan and (b) northerners living in the south of Sudan; and if he will make a statement. (309132)

The Minister of State, Department for International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas) and my noble Friend Baroness Kinnock issued a statement on 15 December 2009 welcoming the progress made towards the forthcoming referendum in South Sudan following the agreement on 13 December 2009 at the level of the Presidency on the draft Bill.

The draft Bill reflected agreement between the parties on the eligibility to register and vote of southerners living in the north of Sudan and northerners living in the south of Sudan. We welcome the news that, despite last minute difficulties, on 29 December 2009 this Bill was agreed by consensus in the National Assembly in Sudan.

We also welcome the news that the legislation regarding the referendum for Abyei and the popular consultations for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States was passed by the National Assembly on 30 December 2009.