JUBA, Sudan – A top official on the commission charged with carrying out Southern Sudan's upcoming independence referendum says he is optimistic the vote will take place on time.
Chan Reec Madut, deputy chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, said Tuesday that the voter registration drive will have to be completed between Nov. 14 and Dec. 14 for the vote to happen as scheduled in January.
Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir warned last week that a delay in the referendum could cause a return to violence "on a massive scale" in Sudan.
Madut's comments came one day before the United Nations Security Council was scheduled to visit Juba, the south's capital. The U.N. team is checking on preparations for the referendum.