Sudan seeks global support as vote nears

UNITED NATIONS – Sudanese officials on Friday asked world leaders including US President Barack Obama to provide the international support needed to maintain peace as they near a critical independence referendum on south Sudan that could split Africa's largest country in two.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Obama and other leaders urged a timely and peaceful vote to ensure any possible transition is smooth and does not ignite a new civil war.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is warning a high-level meeting organized by Ban that the Jan. 9 referendum will not be held in time unless Sudan officials move more quickly.