Britain welcomes south Sudan referendum result

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Britain on Sunday welcomed the preliminary results of the southern Sudan referendum but said there was a "huge amount" to do before it becomes an independent nation.

"I welcome the announcement of the preliminary results," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement, adding that he looked forward to the final confirmation.

"The southern Sudanese have made clear in overwhelming numbers their desire for secession and the establishment of Southern Sudan as a new nation.

"The many observer missions on the ground have confirmed that this vote has taken place in a credible manner.

"There remains a huge amount for the Sudanese parties to do before the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and independence of Southern Sudan, on 9 July 2011.

"The UK will continue to support efforts to resolve the outstanding issues and we will provide ongoing assistance to both Northern and Southern Sudan to support lasting peace and development for all of the Sudanese people."

The referendum ballot papers were printed in Britain.

Close to 99 percent of south Sudanese chose to secede from the north in the landmark January 9-15 referendum, according to the first complete preliminary results.

© 2011 AFP

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