Obama leads new UN pressure on Sudan over votes

US Prez led an international push to make sure two self-determination votes in Sudan, which could lead to the breakup of Africa`s biggest nation, are held on time.

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2010, 23:36 PM IST

United Nations: US President Barack Obama
on Friday led an international push to make sure two
self-determination votes in Sudan, which could lead to the
breakup of Africa`s biggest nation, are held on time.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called a high level
meeting on Sudan amid fears that a delay could lead to a
unilateral declaration of independence by South Sudan and a
possible conflict.

Obama spoke with other world leaders about the January 9
referendums in South Sudan and the small region of Abyei, both
key oil producers, for which preparations are seriously behind
schedule, officials said.

The US president discussed Sudan with Ban yesterday and
said that with the United Nations he would be "focusing the
world`s attention on the upcoming referendum in Sudan."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Sudan a
"ticking time bomb, and Ban has called the country one of his
"top priorities."

African concern will be highlighted by presence of the
presidents and prime ministers of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and
Ethiopia at the meeting along with the foreign minister from
Brazil, Britain, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, and
Norway, among others.

Sudan`s President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by a UN
court on war crimes charges, will not be at the meeting. He is
represented by two vice presidents: Ali Osman Taha, who speaks
for the Khartoum government, and Salva Kiir who is leader of
Southern Sudan.

Diplomats said the aim of today`s meeting was to send a
strong signal to the Khartoum government and South Sudan that
the votes must be held on time and be peaceful and credible.

At the UN General Assembly, there was new condemnation of
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad`s claims that most
people in the world believe that the US government
orchestrated the September 11 attacks in 2001.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton called the
comments "outrageous and unacceptable."

"It is for this reason that all representatives of the 27
nations of the EU walked out" of the General Assembly, she
said.

PTI

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