[QODLink]
Africa
Carter to lead Sudan poll observers
The former US president will be a prominent observer during the week-long referendum process set to begin on January 9.
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2011 10:48 GMT
Observers from the EU and Carter Center were also deployed earlier to assess the voter registration phase [AFP]

Hundreds of foreign poll observers will be in southern Sudan in the next few days for the week-long referendum process set to begin on January 9.

Prominent among them will be Jimmy Carter, former US president, Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, and Joseph Warioba, the former Tanzanian prime minister.

"The referendum is a critical step in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," Carter said in a statement.

"We hope this process will help the people of Sudan work for a peaceful future, regardless of the outcome."

The Carter Center field officer in Juba has told Al Jazeera that their observers will be in Khartoum on Thursday as part of the organisation’s delegation. He also said that they would make their way to southern Sudan in time for the referendum. 

The European Union had earlier said that it will deploy a 110-strong team of observers.

Veronique de Keyser, head of the EU observation mission, said that the team comprised of members from 27 European countries as well as Switzerland, Norway and Canada.

Russia too will be sending its observers.

Security focus

Sergei Lavrov, its foreign minister, has said that Russian observers will take part in the monitoring process.

Lavrov said Russia will relocate four helicopters from Chad to Sudan to help the UN ensure security during the referendum.

The UN has also appointed a three-member panel to monitor the referendum. It will be led by Benjamin Mkapa, another former Tanzanian president. This is in addition to observers from the African Union.

Small advance groups of observers from the EU and the Carter Center have been deployed earlier to assess the voter registration phase of the referendum process that started on November 14.

John Hardman, the Carter Center president, said his organisation will deploy more than 100 observers across Sudan and the overseas voting locations to assess the process and observe polling, counting, and tabulation.

The Center has maintained an election mission in Sudan since 2008, and organised a long-term observation mission for Sudan’s April 2010 general elections. 

The organisation is also supporting non-partisan domestic observation in Sudan, including the training and deployment of an estimated 3,000 observers for the referendum.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.