Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement in Hanover today on the conclusion of the referendum in Southern Sudan:
“Polling stations closed yesterday in Southern Sudan. The people of Southern Sudan have now concluded a week of decision-making. Through their impressive participation in the referendum, the Southern Sudanese have shown their willingness to bravely take responsibility for their future.
I have great respect for all of those who, contrary to the pessimistic expectations of many, enabled the referendum to proceed in a largely peaceful and orderly manner. This applies to the authorities in the Sudan itself, to all supporters of the referendum process and to the United Nations.
The referendum in Southern Sudan marks the conclusion of a peace process that has spanned many years. We are counting on the referendum’s success as a foundation for a permanently stable political solution for the future of both Northern and Southern Sudan.
What’s most important here is for the final results of the referendum, which are expected in several weeks, to be accepted and implemented in both parts of the Sudan.
As with the referendum, the German Government will also provide support for the conclusion of the peace process. This is chiefly a matter of establishing cooperative relations between Northern and Southern Sudan and promoting the development of governmental institutions in Southern Sudan, all in close coordination with the international community.”