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  Official: Southern Sudan could unilaterally secede
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Sep 03, 2010 08:41am
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AuthorDavid McKenzie
MediaTV News - CNN
News DateThursday, September 2, 2010 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionNairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- Southern Sudan, the autonomous region in Sudan, may unilaterally declare its sovereignty, since the central government isn't doing enough to plan and stage a referendum on independence by January, an influential political figure told CNN on Thursday.

³We have reached a point of no return," John Duku, Southern Sudan¹s former chief diplomat to East Africa, told CNN. "The independence of South Sudan cannot be stopped by anybody now."

Duku was referring to the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005 between Southern Sudanese rebels and the Khartoum government, led by Omar al Bashir.

The agreement -- which ended a 21-year north-south civil war that killed 2 million people and forced about 4 million others from their homes -- calls for a January referendum on independence for the region.

Duku, an influential figure in Southern Sudanese politics, warned that there has been little civil education about the vote and that key issues on the polling have yet to be sorted out.

"The clock is ticking," said Duku, who now heads a civil society organization. "We have 129 days left to go to the referendum."

The Khartoum government has repeatedly claimed that it is committed to the peace agreement, but Duku said al Bashir has been lying to the International community and the African Union.
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