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(CBC News) – The government of Sudan is preparing to call an end to a 16-year-old state of emergency in much of the country. President Omar el Bashir says it should be lifted on July 9, when a new constitution is adopted and a transitional government installed. Both measures are called for in a peace treaty signed last January aimed at ending 21 years of civil war in southern Sudan . Elections are intended to follow those initiatives and southerners will be asked to vote in a referendum on whether to secede. The civil war pits the ethnic Arab Muslim-dominated government in Khartoum against rebels fighting for more autonomy and control in the ethnically African animist and Christian south. However the state of emergency will not be lifted in Darfur .