UNITED NATIONS - China on Wednesday welcomed the smooth development of the south Sudan referendum, voicing its hope that the parties in south and north Sudan could reach a consensus at an early date on the outstanding issues through dialogue and consultations.
Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement in an interview with Xinhua after he spoke at the UN Security Council about the Chinese stance on the situation of Sudan.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Security Council met to hear briefings from Atul Khare, UN assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, and Ibrahim Gambari, the joint special representative of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), on the current situation in Sudan.
"China welcomes the smooth development of the south Sudan referendum, this is the result of the joint efforts of north and south Sudan and the international community," Li said.
"At present, priority should be given to the following work: First, continuous efforts should be made to fully maintain peace and stability in Sudan to enable the country to realize its long-term peace, stability and development," he said. "Second, efforts should be made to encourage the parties in south and north Sudan to continue their efforts for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), particularly for a consensus at an early date on the outstanding issues."
The referendum, with its week-long polling period ending on Jan 15, will determine whether south Sudan remains a part of Sudan or becomes independent, in accordance with the 2005 CPA that ended a long-running north-south civil war.
The referendum's preliminary results are expected to be announced by Feb 2, and depending on whether appeals are launched in the courts, the final result will be declared on Feb 7 or 14.