Washington, DC /eNewsChannels/ — The United States is deeply concerned about reports that the National Assembly passed the Southern Sudan referendum bill with language added by the NCP that is different than that agreed to by NCP and SPLM leadership. Reneging on the agreement negotiated on December 13th by the two parties undermines the peace process, jeopardizes CPA implementation, and risks sparking renewed political hostilities between the parties. We call on the parties to pass the remaining bills, including the Abyei referendum bill, using the text as agreed, and to restore the Southern Sudan referendum bill to the agreed-upon language before it is signed into law.

The United States is also deeply concerned about the passage of a revised National Security Act on Monday that contains no new measures of accountability for the security services. For elections to be credible, it is incumbent on the regime to demonstrate in word and in deed that this law will not be used to arrest and detain political opponents.

The Government of Sudan must also make immediate and significant improvements to the electoral environment, including permitting peaceful demonstrations, ending press censorship, and allowing opposition voices to be heard. The high voter registration signals the clear desire of the people of Sudan to participate in the process of democratic transformation as proposed in the spirit and letter of the CPA.

The United States calls on all parties to work together to ensure the upcoming elections and referenda are conducted in a credible manner.

(ref: Ian Kelly, Dept. Spokeman, U.S. State Department.)

Tabitha Angel Berg is an aspiring author and musician and joined eNewsChannels in Nov. 2006 as an editor and mistress of the WP-based content management system (CMS). She likes ferrets better than cats and tea better than coffee, and is a devout iPad evangelist. Nobody pays her to like Dr. Pepper, but wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?