US concerns over Sudan referendum: Biden

July 18, 2010 (Washington) —  US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday said the United States has “legitimate concern” over Sudan referendum, adding the United States is working “full-time” to ensure January referendum on Southern independence is free and fair.

"We are on it full-time. And I believe that we’ll be able to pull — they’ll be able to pull (it) off, with our help and the UN’s help, they’ll be able to pull off a credible election”, Biden told “This Week”, one of ABC’s television programs.

"We’re doing everything in our power to make sure this election on the referendum is viewed by the world as legitimate and fair”, he added.

Biden comments came as US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration was on a visit to Darfur. Gration will meet with SPLM and NCP officials who are now negotiating on referendum issues in Khartoum.

The American envoy will also discuss Abyei status with officials from both parties.

When the North and South signed the CPA in 2005, they were not able to agree on the future of Abyei. As a result, SPLM and NCP decided to agree on joint administration for Abyei and decided that the only option for the oil-rich region is for its people to decide whether to stay with North or joint the South.

On January 9, 2011, South Sudanese will decide whether to secede or remain united with the North.

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