NEW YORK — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Sudanese authorities to make up for lost time in preparing for an independence referendum early next year for the Southern Sudan on Tuesday.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Clinton met with Sudan's Vice President Ali Osman Taha to impress upon him the need for a well-organized and peaceful vote in January. With just over 100 days until the referendum, preparations are far behind schedule.
There are also fears that a vote splitting the south and north will re-ignite a bloody civil war that ended in 2005.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday appointed a panel to monitor the upcoming vote, said his spokesman Martin Nesirky. Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa will head the panel that also includes former Portuguese Foreign Minister Antonio Monteiro, and Nepal's former elections commission chairman Bhojraj Pokharel.