Jan Pronk

Statement on Sudan to the UN Security Council, January 2006

New York, January 15 2006

One year after its signing in Nairobi, on 9 January 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the Southern People’s Liberation Movement stands firm. Its implementation, though slow, remains on track and is moving forward. The tragic death of John Garang, the leader of the South, less than a month after he had been sworn in as the new Vice President of Sudan, was a major blow. It caused consternation and delays, but neither party has found a reason to deviate from the agreement which was his legacy. On the contrary, parties realize that they depend on each other and that they have to move forward.

In one year two new Constitutions were adopted, one for Sudan as a whole and one for Southern Sudan. Two new governments were formed. All institutions that had to be established on the basis of the CPA have been established. Some have hardly met while others face political disputes. However, the spirit of the agreement stands tall. The redeployment of the Sudanese Army away from the South has started. The target of 30% redeployment within one year has more or less been accomplished. The UN has instructed the forces on both sides to notify all movements seven days in advance and so far there have been only minor violations of these instructions. As a matter of fact, the Joint Ceasefire Committee (CJMC), the only UN led institution, has been the most successful CPA institution. It started convening shortly after the Security Council passed resolution 1590 mandating UNMIS to monitor the CPA has met fifteen times and has been able to reach consensus on most issues regarding the interpretation and implementation of the ceasefire paragraphs in the CPA. The talks between SPLM and Other Armed Groups (OAGs) in Southern Sudan are proceeding well. This can pave the way for the integration of all combatants either in one of the armies or into the civil society.

Of course, a lot still needs to be done. The peace process has to become more inclusive, incorporating other political parties and civil society. The security laws have to be brought in line with the Constitution. The disarmament, demobilization and consequent reintegration of the combatants is yet to commence. Return of displaced persons and refugees has started but we lack resources to support this return. Rehabilitation and development of the Southern agriculture, its economy, its towns and villages - water, education and health systems – is yet to start. The capacity of the new Government of Southern Sudan is still limited. DDR, return, rehabilitation and capacity building, they all require more international financial support.

Without such support the expectations of the people in the South will not be met. That is a major risk. There is peace, indeed, where is the peace dividend? Conflicts emerge out of tribal disputes and also with people returning to their villages. UNMIS, through timely reaction in an integrated fashion, has been able to diffuse some of these conflicts with the cooperation of the authorities. However, there will be more. We have such concerns in Abyei, where the Miserya and the Dinka on the ground have learnt to live together, but the uncertainty about the future status of the region continues to pose a threat. In the East, close to the Eritrean border, a confrontation may arise as soon as the SPLM withdraws to the South as they have committed themselves in the CPA. The Government and the Eastern rebel movements had agreed to start discussions leading to peace talks facilitated by the UN in the third quarter of last year, but thereafter the UN was sidelined. Parties agreed to Libya as a facilitator, but talks still have to start, even though the redeployment deadline of 9 January 2006 has passed. This is creating a void with a potential for new armed conflict, violating the gentleman’s agreement between the parties, facilitated by the UN mid last year, not to attack each other. Finally, the attacks of the Uganda based Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on civilians and humanitarian workers are paralyzing our activities in a considerable part of the South. The situation directly threatens the potential peace dividends.

The sense of optimism in the people of the South is thus low. They have also become suspicious. Many are losing their belief in the North’s sincerity of giving the South a chance to develop beyond peace. The parties to the CPA have agreed that fifty percent of the oil revenues and the resulting income would accrue to the South. However, there is no transparency. The Khartoum authorities have been reluctant to provide answers to all questions regarding oil. People in the South are becoming less and less confident that this essential element of the agreement on the sharing of wealth will become a reality. The international community and its institutions - all countries investing in Sudan and buying from Sudan, IMF exerting its mandate to assess economic and financial governance - have a political and an economic interest in the full and fair implementation of this agreement on oil. The upcoming meeting of the Sudan Consortium in March, led by the World Bank, would be a good opportunity to discuss this, in order to settle the matter and to avoid possible differences of opinion leading to a real dispute.

Matching the cynicism in the South there are suspicions in the North that the SPLM does not really want to give unity a chance in the referendum six years after the peace agreement. Making unity the attractive option is part of the mandate that the Security Council has given to the mission. We try to do so by focusing in particular on poverty reduction, on sustaining peace, minority rights, human rights and constitutional rights. People are free to decide in the referendum, either for unity or for separation. When six years after the peace agreement people are less poor, have more rights and live in peace throughout the country in a still united Sudan they may consider it attractive to stay together as one nation, albeit with two systems. The SPLM leadership would be wise to show that they have not decided otherwise, opting for separation whatever the development in the next five years. The unity option should get a real chance when people exercise their right to vote in a referendum. However, the Government in the North should do everything to make this attractive. It can do so by guaranteeing a fair share of power, resources and income to the people of the South, for expenditure and investment in water, schools, jobs, agriculture, housing and health care for all those people which were deprived of these decades along.

Unequal distribution of power and wealth was also one of the causes of the war in Darfur. There is not yet peace in Darfur. Peace is indivisible. The continuation of violence, killings, rapes and human rights violations is not only a tragedy for the people of Darfur. They also constitute a violation of the requirements set out in resolutions by the Security Council. Moreover, they are a threat to the sustainability of peace in the South.

The deadline set to reach a peace agreement on Darfur in Abuja before the end of 2005 has not been met. The parties have failed. The passing of the 31 December was ignored and went unnoticed. One cannot avoid the impression that the parties have lost all sense of urgency and do not really care about deadlines. They talk but do not reach results. Chairman Salim has done everything he could to get the parties to end the talks with an agreement, but the parties shied away. One wonders whether negotiators really care about the fate of the three million war affected people, of which more than two millions live in camps for displaced persons and refugees. Thanks to international assistance and the commitment of the humanitarian workers on the ground, who deserve our admiration, the malnutrition and mortality figures have decreased considerably. However, this cannot be sustained in an environment of insecurity, resulting in less and less access for humanitarian assistance.

All of us will have to reconsider the strategy to reach peace in Darfur. The parties, after having missed the 31 December deadline, will have to commit themselves to reach an agreement during this seventh round of talks. At the beginning of the seventh round they pledged that it would be the last and that it would end before 31 December 2005. The least they can do now is to stop the clock. Parties should not adjourn for an eighth round, but conclude an agreement for the sake of the people they claim to represent.

Parties negotiating in Darfur could learn from the way in which the North-South peace agreement was reached in Nairobi. Before everything else, a sustained and lasting ceasefire was agreed upon. In Southern Sudan the fire ceased, not only on paper but also on the ground. This made it possible to continue negotiations for a fair distribution of power and wealth, which is the core of the CPA. This should also happen in Darfur. Only when the fighting has stopped, parties, together with others who did not take up arms but have a real stake in the development of their part of Sudan – tribal leaders, civil society, representatives of displaced people, intellectuals and others – can reach a fair, inclusive and sustainable agreement on governance, power, wealth, land, water and economic development. Those who did not take up arms and have watched the parties failing in Abuja should be given a right to participate in a meaningful Darfur-Darfur dialogue that should begin soon.

Any agreement in Abuja or in El Fasher will only be sustainable if the international community assists in guaranteeing security. The African Union has done an admirable job, but AMIS has been provided with inadequate resources and means to prevent attacks. We deplore the death of young African soldiers who came to Darfur in order to help save the lives of innocent civilians but who became a target themselves.

The security situation in Darfur is chaotic. The perpetrators of 2003 and 2004 have reached their goal: Many areas have been cleansed. They have a free passage in the country side. Millions of villagers sitting in camps are too afraid to leave. Terror continues. At least once a month groups of 500 to 1000 militia on camel and horseback attack villages, killing dozens of people and terrorizing the others who flee away.

Since I gave my last brief to the Council the villages Aro Sharow, Tama and Abu Sorouj should be added to Tawila, Labado, Hamada and Khora Abache which all stand witness to cruel atrocities, terror, killings and rapes. No wonder that IDPs and refugees do not dare to return. They do not trust anybody anymore. Only international guarantees such as those provided by the AU can help.

The force which is necessary to provide such guarantees should be big, much bigger than the present one. It should not be on call but in place, present everywhere where people may be attacked. It should be strong, able to defend itself, able to deter attacks on civilians and able to disarm militias and the Janjaweed which should have been disarmed by the Government in the first place. This has not been done, despite demands laid down in Security Council Resolutions. The force should stay long enough to provide confidence, at least three to four years after the reaching of a peace agreement. Its financing should be guaranteed all along. It should have a broad mandate, broad enough to deter non-compliance. It should be an integral element of a unified approach towards Darfur, with humanitarian, political, police, legal, human rights, reconstruction and economic development instruments. It should be supported by sanctions. Sanctions on troop movements which are not in accordance with the agreement. Sanctions on arms deliveries. Sanctions for those who have caused atrocities, in particular those who instructed others to do so, not only foot soldiers but also commanders and those political leaders who were responsible for the carnage of 2003 and 2004 and who refuse to stop the atrocities of 2005.

Many people have paid lip service to the need for peace. Looking back at three years of killings and cleansing in Darfur we must admit that our peace strategy so far has failed. All we did was picking up the pieces and muddling through, doing too little too late. The ultimate responsibility lies with the perpetrators. But we should do more to stop them, to end impunity and to offer a perspective to the children of Darfur that they can live without fear.

We hoped that there would be peace at the end of the year. Did we do more than just hope? Hope is a good thing but it has its limits.