Twenty political parties, in addition to civil society organizations and faith-based groups sent delegates to the Conference. The opening session was addressed by H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Ustaz Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice President of the Republic and Vice Chairman of the National Congress Party, President Daniel T. arap Moi, former President of the Republic of Kenya and Mr Bona Malwal, elder statesman and Advisor to the President of the Republic.
The Conference demonstrated a spirit of cordiality among Southern Sudanese political party leaders, obviously consolidated by recognition of the imperative of unity among the Southern Sudanese people. In speech after speech and statement after statement, chairpersons or representatives of the Southern political parties reiterated their commitment to the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the timely conduct of free, fair transparent and peaceful referenda for Southern Sudan and Abyei Area on 9th January 2011.
The Conference adopted the keynote address by the President of the Government of Southern Sudan in which he laid out the principles, strategy and course of action that the people of Southern Sudan need to follow in order to achieve their long-held aspirations.
The political parties leaders discussed with great candour all issues of concern to the people of Southern Sudan, including governance, a post-mortem of the conduct of the last general elections, rule of law, political power sharing, protection of basic liberties and human rights, maintenance of law and order and managing the impact and challenges of the outcome of the referenda.
The political parties unanimously agreed on the necessity of conducting peaceful and credible referenda.
The conference reached consensus on all issues related to the referendum, post-referendum Southern Sudan and reconciliation among Southern Sudanese.
Among the resolutions reached by the Conference was reactivation of the Leadership Forum. The Conference expressed gratitude and thanks to H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit for his initiative and statesmanship in finding amicable solutions to national problems and challenges. In particular, the Conference applauded the amnesty given to groups/or individuals who had rebelled against GOSS. The Conference acknowledged that this initiative would have a positive impact on the quest of the Southern Sudanese people for their unity and solidarity during this most critical and historic phase in their national struggle.
The Conference passed resolutions a summary of which is here below provided.
1. Peace and Reconciliation
a) The Conference commends the President Salva Kiir Mayardit for his decision to grant amnesty to groups who have rebelled against GOSS and appeal to those affected to respond positively to this national call.
b) The Southern Sudanese Political Parties, civil society organizations and faith-based groups affirm their commitment to peace, reconciliation and adherence to the principles of democracy, rule of law, protection of human rights and respect of multiparty system.
c) The conference calls upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to ensure that political parties and civil society organizations exercise their freedom of association and expression all over the Sudan to freely propagate their preferred options in the referenda.
d) The conference calls upon the Government of Sudan and GOSS to give equal opportunities for proponents of unity and secession in state-owned media both in the north and south and request the private media to do the same.
2. Preparation for the Referenda
a) Southern Sudan, united as political parties and people, calls for the timely conduct of the referenda for the peoples of Southern Sudan and Abyei on 9th January 2011 as stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Interim National Constitution (INC), and for the acceptance and respect of the choice of the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei.
b) The conference unanimously resolves that the referenda are to be free, fair and transparent and calls on Government of Sudan, GOSS and the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) to ensure a conducive environment for conduct of free, fair, transparent and peaceful referenda, as provided in the Southern Sudan Referendum Act and Abyei Referendum Act, are met.
c) The conference agreed that during campaigning, the proponents for two options of each referendum must be orderly and campaign responsibly and desist from provocative actions or utterances.
3. Issues Raised by the Decision of the South in the Referendum
a) In the event that the decision of the people of Southern Sudan in the referendum is unity, the south should be prepared to effectively participate in the constitutional review process that will follow the referendum, in order to safeguard the gains of the south in the new dispensation in the country.
b) In the event that separation is the choice of the people of Southern Sudan in the referendum:
i) GOSS shall establish a National Constitutional Review Commission to review the current Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan for adoption by the SSLA as a transitional constitution.
ii) GOSS to convene an all party constitutional conference to deliberate and adopt a constitutional system for the new independent and sovereign state in Southern Sudan.
iii) The constitutional conference shall discuss and agree on the formation of an interim broad based transitional government, under the current President of the GoSS, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, after the end of the interim period.
iv) The transitional government shall be charged, inter alia, with the duty to conduct population census and general elections for a constituent assembly that shall promulgate the permanent constitution.
v) The constitutional conference shall decide on the length of the interim period necessary to carry out general elections for the constituent assembly.
4. Formation of Leadership Forum
A Southern Sudan Leadership Forum shall be formed with the membership of the chairpersons or representatives of all Southern Sudan political parties, to be chaired by the President of the Government of Southern Sudan and tasked with the follow–up and implementation of resolutions of this conference. The Forum shall meet at least twice during the remaining period to the referendum.