UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Voter registration for a referendum on self-determination for South Sudan gets under way in two weeks, the United Nations announced.
U.S. President George W. Bush in 2005 helped broker a peace deal that would give South Sudan autonomy. U.N. and U.S. officials have expressed concern, however, that preparations for the January vote are well behind schedule.
Denis Kadima, an election official for the United Nations, said more than 3,000 voter registration kits were delivered during the weekend in preparation for a registration drive.
Security officials in South Sudan, he said, would monitor the delivery of election materials.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on Sudan to the U.N. Security Council said upcoming events would have a dramatic impact on Sudan's future.
Residents in the central Sudanese area of Abyei will also vote on whether they want to joint North or South Sudan.
The U.S. State Department said through a spokesman that it believes the January measure is on schedule "but clearly, the parties need to come together, make some decisions, and then take the appropriate actions to prepare not only for that referendum but also the one regarding South Sudan."