13 April, 2008 (SUNA)
The Leadership Office of the National Congress called in its emergency meeting Saturday evening, which was chaired by President of the Republic and Chairman of the National Congress Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, on the Sudan People''s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to retreat from its decision concerning postponement of the process of the Fifth Population Census in southern Sudan.
Secretary of Information Secretariat and Spokesman of the National Congress Dr. Kamal Obeid said in a press statement that the decision of the Government of Southern Sudan was not based on security or political justifications and that it did not consider the requirements of the Sudanese people concerning the importance of conducting the population census for development and the constitutional rights stipulated clearly by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
He added that the National Congress saw no justifications for that postponement, and hoped that it would not be a reason for not holding the elections in its set time. He pointed out that the National Congress would continue its consultations with the political forces to shape its stance towards this decision, affirming that all the justifications cited by the government of southern Sudan were discussed in previous meetings and that there was no view on postponement.
Dr. Obeid expressed regret of the Leadership Office of the National Congress over the decision, especially that there were funds spent from the treasury of the Sudanese people on an agreed upon constitutional issue, pointing out that all reports coming from the south had been affirming completion of preparations for starting the process in the south. But, he said, the decision was not a surprise for the political forces, considering the previous stances of the SPLM towards the peace agreement.
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