, KHARTOUM, Feb 6 – Final results of Sudan\’s landmark referendum on southern independence, which is set to deliver a landslide for secession, will be announced on Monday, the commission that organised the vote said.
"The results are going to be announced tomorrow (Monday) at 11 o\’clock (0800 GMT) at the Friendship Hall" in Khartoum, said referendum commission spokeswoman Suad Ibrahim.
The announcement will be something of a formality after final preliminary results released on January 30 showed almost 99 percent of south Sudanese chose to secede from the north.
The commission\’s chairman Mohamed Khalil Ibrahim will declare the final results, which will then be received by President Omar al-Bashir and southern president Salva Kiir at the presidential palace, the spokeswoman said.
"There were no appeals," she added, which might have delayed the announcement by a week.
The January 9-15 referendum defied expectations by taking place on time and largely without incident, despite the major logistical challenges facing the organisers and fears that the Khartoum government might try to block it.
The vote, whose conduct drew praise from world leaders, was the centrepiece of a 2005 peace deal that ended a devastating 22-year conflict between the largely African Christian south and the mainly Arab Muslim north.
President Bashir, who spearheaded the north\’s efforts to quash the rebellion during much of the 1983-2005 civil war, has already recognised the prospect of partition.
On Monday, a day after the preliminary results were confirmed, Vice President Ali Osman Taha said Khartoum accepted the outcome of the vote, which will almost certainly split Africa\’s largest nation in two.
Khartoum and Juba now have less than six months to agree on numerous outstanding issues, including border demarcation, the status of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region and oil-revenue sharing, currency and sovereign debt, as well as citizenship, that have to be resolved before the south declares independence on July 9, as expected.