WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Washington will start the process to remove Sudan from its terrorism list now that South Sudan referendum results are final, a State Department spokesman said.
Results from a January referendum for an independent South Sudan show voters backed the proposal in overwhelming fashion. South Sudan is set to become the world's newest nation, possibly as early as July.
The January referendum was part of a comprehensive peace agreement reached in 2005 with the help of the United States. The CPA brought an end to one of the bloodiest civil wars in modern history.
P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said during his regular press briefing that Washington would move to take Sudan off its terrorist list once the results are finalized.
"(W)e will begin the process of removing Sudan from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list with the obvious qualification that Sudan has to meet the criteria under law before that action could be taken," he said.
Washington notes Sudan has helped with counter-terrorism issues but blames "hard-line Sudanese officials" for expressing distrust over U.S. involvement in the country. Al-Qaida claimed responsible for to U.S Embassy staff members in Sudan in 2008.
The international community said that while key hurdles remain for Sudan, the referendum was a positive step toward peace.
"This moment is testament to the leaders in both North and South Sudan who ensured a credible and peaceful process," said British Prime Minister David Cameron.