The message reads, in part:
“The guiding line in our policy on Sudan and the region in general is that of respect for Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, we think it a matter of principle importance that the parties within Sudan itself, seeking to end the long-running armed conflict, stated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on January 9, 2005, that Southern Sudan will have the right to hold a referendum on self-determination.
It is my firm conviction that no matter what this referendum’s result, it will not only determine the future of Southern Sudan and its people, but will have a substantial influence on the general political situation in the region. I hope that the referendum will produce a result making it possible to establish the conditions necessary for continuing the post-conflict settlement process and ensuring Sudan’s sustainable development.
In this respect I think it especially important that both parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement make maximum efforts to rapidly draft and implement the needed agreements and practical measures for holding a properly organised and timely referendum.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan has a big supporting role to play in this process. In order to provide the necessary assistance, I have decided, in response to a request from the UN Secretary-General, that a Russian aviation contingent previously operating as part of the UN mission in Chad and the Central African Republic will be redeployed to the UN mission in Sudan to replace an equivalent Indian contingent. I hope that our helicopter units will make an effective contribution to the referendum’s preparation and organisation.
Furthermore, in response to Sudanese wishes, Russian observers will take part in the referendum’s international monitoring.
As I said during our recent conversation, Russia will continue to support your country. We will continue to work in multilateral and bilateral format to develop relations based on equal and mutually advantageous cooperation with friendly Sudan.
I am sure that Russian-Sudanese cooperation in international affairs will continue to help strengthen peace, stability and security, above all across the Northeast African region.”
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Mr Medvedev’s message was delivered to the Sudanese President by Mikhail Margelov, special Russian Federation presidential envoy for Sudan and chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee for International Affairs, who is currently in Sudan on a working visit.