, MONTREAL, Jul 31 – Canada, whose province of Quebec had a referendum on independence, has offered Sudan assistance in organizing a plebiscite about the future of its restive southern region, the government announced.
Quebec, the only Canadian province with a French-speaking majority, held two plebiscites on independence, in 1980 and 1995, narrowly voting to remain a part of Canada.
Sudan\’s referendum, a key provision of the 2005 peace deal which ended a devastating 22-year civil war between the north and south, is due next January, allowing southerners to choose independence or remain with a united Sudan.
"Following a request from authorities of northern and southern Sudan as well as of the international community, Canada has offered its technical assistance in conducting the Sudanese referendum," Lisa Monette, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Foreign Ministry, told AFP late Friday.
She also confirmed that senior officials from north and south Sudan were to visit Canada this weekend to learn about Quebec\’s independence referendums.