The Sudanese have yet again unequivocally demonstrated their commitment to peace by breaking the impasse on the Referendum, a provision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that up until Sunday was a sticking point for the peace partners. The deal calls for a 60% turnout of registered voters to legitimize the exercise and stipulates an affirmative vote of 51% to validate the choice of independence. The cabinet also approved the draft Referendum Act for Abyei and one for the People's Consultation in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. Details of the agreement have yet to be disclosed pending consultations with all vested forces in Sudan.
This breakthrough follows the successful execution of the voter registration conducted nationally and internationally over the course of a month, paving the way for presidential and general elections slated for April of next year. Over 81% of the eligible voters were registered and are expected to participate in the historic elections whereby they will determine the president and government officials that will represent them. It is a step in a series of milestones meant to usher in the veritable democratic transformation of the country. And Sudan's steadfast pursuit of solutions to the obstacles that imperil its path to peace highlights its dedication.
It has, however, become a disturbing norm that on precisely such historic occasions, on which momentum should be built to propel us closer towards our vision, the obstructionists crawl out of their holes to downplay achievements and try to discredit the immense efforts of Sudanese. That when such a substantial leap is made forward, those who've found a stake in the status quo will do their level best to have us take ten steps backwards. These are the voices that continue to insist on an ongoing genocide in Darfur, contemptuously brushing off the facts as related by the UN and officials on the ground. These individuals continue to stress that there is no war, and dispute fiercely the assertions that there ever was genocide in Darfur.
It is these same elements that have waged the campaign to defame the image of Sudan internationally, yet they rub shoulders with countries whose records pale in comparison. Any observer must, privately or otherwise, concede to facts. Sudan does have monumental challenges. This is a fact. But its challenges are neither extraordinary nor unique. It has the tools and the will to fix its problems, and the breakthrough clearly demonstrates this fact. The role of the international community must therefore be congruent with and in support of the efforts and initiatives of the Sudanese.