US Suggests Alternative to Sudan Referendum

The United States is suggesting that north and south Sudan find an alternative to a referendum on the future of the disputed Abyei region.State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday the United States recognizes that the two sides have not agreed on the details of such a vote, scheduled for January 9.Crowley said it is up to the north and south to decide on a mutually agreeable different course of action.But he said the United States is not letting Sudan, in his words, “off the hook.” He said the country is, as of now, still obliged to hold a vote on Abyei on January 9.Sudan is scheduled to hold two referendums on that date — one on whether south Sudan becomes independent and another on whether the oil-rich Abyei region joins the north or south.But preparations for both votes are far behind schedule.U.S. officials said earlier this week that they have offered to drop Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism if it successfully carries out the south Sudan independence referendum and respects the results.The referendums are part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a long civil war between the north and south – Voanews