Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir told southerners during a visit to Juba on Tuesday he would celebrate the result of Sunday's referendum on southern independence, "even if you choose secession." "I personally will be sad if Sudan splits.
But at the same time I will be happy if we have peace in Sudan between the two sides," Bashir said, according to AFP. "I am going to celebrate your decision, even if your decision is secession." On his arrival at Juba airport, the president was given a red carpet welcome by southern leader Salva Kiir, senior politicians, religious leaders and a guard of honour from the combined armed forces of north and south Sudan.
In his speech, Bashir cobveyed unity was the best choice for southerners. "Anything you need in terms of technical, logistical or professional support from Khartoum, you will find us ready to give it," he said.