WASHINGTON – Sudan is calling for "a new page" in U.S. relations following the completion of a referendum that is likely to lead to independence for Southern Sudan.
The country's foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, met with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday. In a speech in Washington, he said that his government is committed to peace with the South and will honor the outcome of the referendum.
Early results show strong support for secession. Final results are due in early February.
The U.S. has offered Sudan a range of incentives if it peacefully accepts the results. They include improved relations after years of discord and possibly dropping it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Karti said: "It's time to turn a new page."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that in her meeting with Karti, Clinton "reaffirmed U.S. willingness to take steps toward normalization of relations, as Sudan meets its commitments."