Statement to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, May 2006
Addis Ababa, May 15 2006
Mr. Chairman, Honourable Ministers and Delegates,
Thank you for inviting the United Nations Mission in Sudan to address you today. Much has happened since my Deputy, Mr. Zerihoun, last addressed this Council two months ago, on 10 March. Before turning to Darfur, allow me to say a few words, as we have done before in response to the expressed interest of the PSC, about the status of implementation of the CPA in Sudan.
Over the past two months, the parties to the CPA have taken a number of further steps to implement the Agreement, whose institutions are designed to offer a political forum to air and resolve differences over implementation. The Ceasefire Political Commission has held two additional meetings and is beginning to deal with substantive matters. The Assessment and Evaluation Commission has established thematic working groups. The Ad Hoc Border Committee has started to meet, and just last week, the crucial Southern Sudan DDR Commission was established. Military redeployments by both the SAF and the SPLA continue and are being monitored by the Mission.
Making unity attractive to the people of Southern Sudan remains one of the key challenges of the interim period. Some key challenges remain, which will require the sustained attention of the two parties. The Human Rights Commission, the Commission for the Protection of the Rights of non-Muslims in the National Capital, and several other commissions, have yet to be established. The delay in establishing the Other Armed Groups Collaborative Committee and the Joint Integrated Units is delaying and frustrating efforts to build a secure environment for the people of Southern Sudan and the transition areas. Both parties will need to do more to build a genuine spirit of cooperation, inclusiveness and transparency for Sudan to enjoy a better future.
The boundary delimitation decision of the Abyei Boundaries Commission, delivered in July 2005, has yet to be implemented on the ground by the Presidency and the Mission faces continuing and unacceptable restrictions on its freedom of movement by National Security and SAF elements. The security situation in Southern Sudan remains precarious, with continuing attacks in recent months by various armed groups, including the LRA. The process of incorporating Other Armed Groups into the forces of the two parties continues, albeit too slowly and well behind schedule.
The Security Council and the international community have repeatedly emphasized that comprehensive and sustainable peace in Sudan requires not only that the CPA be implemented and that a peace agreement be reached in Darfur, but that the conflict in Eastern Sudan also be addressed concurrently. UNMIS is pleased that the Government and the Eastern Front are moving closer to a political dialogue with the involvement of Eritrea and the support of others, including the UN. Over the last year, repeated delays in the start of such a dialogue have undermined the chances for peace in Eastern Sudan and put at risk the prospects for comprehensive and sustainable peace in Sudan as a whole.
Developments in Darfur
The good news that brings us to this meeting today is of course the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Allow me to echo the words of the Secretary-General in both his 9 May letter to President Bashir as well as his remarks in the Security Council on that same day: the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement is "a major achievement which could pave the way for a lasting peace in Darfur." Indeed, after almost two years of work, credit for this major achievement must be given not just to the Chief Mediator, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, and his team, but to the AU as a whole. The United Nations is pleased that it was able to provide both substantive support (through its permanent and rotating teams in Abuja) and logistical assistance throughout this long, and often trying process.
As hard as that was, what lies ahead may prove to be even harder. All efforts, all energies must now be devoted to its implementation and to improving the situation of the people of Darfur on the ground. Abuja must translate into an improvement on the ground. The Agreement will be judged, and very soon I am afraid, according to one important litmus test, namely: Has the fighting and the suffering of civilians stopped?
In Darfur, we are concerned about the continued fighting, including deliberate attacks on towns, villages and displaced persons' settlements. These attacks have continued until the very day of the signature of the agreement in Abuja. They could not be discussed because the Joint Ceasefire Commission did not meet since October last year. Any attack, any violation of the new agreement from now on should be addressed right away.
So, with respect to implementation, we must decide what priority actions must be undertaken in order to prevent violations, non implementation and the possible breakdown of the agreement. Five actions are of immediate priority:
First, efforts to secure additional signatures for the DPA must continue. There can be no lasting peace in Darfur, unless all the communities in Darfur are a party to it. We should do our very best, without changing the agreement to secure the signature of Abdul Wahid or other representatives of his constituency.
Second, it is essential to proceed with the effective implementation of the Abuja agreement already today. According to the agreement, within 3 days after D-Day, there should be a cessation of all hostilities. Within 21 days after D-Day, the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority has to be established. Within 37 days, the map with areas of control, buffer zones and demilitarized zones has to be produced. Also within 37 days, that is around mid June, the Government has to submit a disarmament plan for the Janjaweed. Within 30 days after D-Day the committee to prepare the Darfur Darfur Dialogue has to be established. Mr. Chairman, the negotiators led by the AU have done a terrific job. They have produced a good agreementm, but with a very tight time schedule. The deadlines are coming close. I am afraid that the parties will not be able to meet all these deadlines on their own. The AU has to help them by taking initiatives, by setting up the institutions. The international community can help the AU in fulfilling that task. The UN is willing to provide assistance. Chairman Konare just announced that the Commission will establish a working group to help the parties with the implementation of the DPA. UNMIS has done the same to coordinate the task which the DPA has given to the United Nations. We can decide to link the two working groups and establish a joint mechanism with regard to the chapters on power sharing, wealth sharing, and the Darfur Darfur Dialogue.
Third, efforts to increase support for humanitarian programmes on the ground in Darfur must be intensified now. We welcome announcements of additional relief assistance. However, we need more. It would be a catastrophe if after the signing of the peace agreement, the refugees, displaced people and other victims of the war will see their food rations cut. They wouldn't understand it and it would not help broadening the circle of support for the peace agreement. Together, the AU and the UN must appeal to all donors, old and new, Western and African countries as well as countries in the Middle East, to go an extra mile, and secure both the assistance to the victims and the sustainability of the peace agreement.
Fourth, efforts to strengthen AMIS must begin now. The UN stands ready to help organize a pledging conference in June in cooperation with the AU, that would secure for AMIS the necessary budgetary and logistics supports requirements, to carry out the task of the AU with regard to the chapter on the comprehensive ceasefire and the final security arrangements in the DPA. We believe it essential that AMIS have the necessary means to carry out the new obligations that arise from the Abuja process.
Fifth, planning for an AU-to-UN transition must accelerate now. Following the position taken by the AU PSC on 12 January and 10 March on a possible transition from AMIS to a UN operation, I would like to inform members of the PSC of the steps taken by the UN so far. The Security Council asked the Secretary-General on 3 February to initiate contingency planning, jointly with the AU, on a range of options for such a transition. On 24 March, the Security Council requested the UN and AU, in close consultations with the Abuja parties, to expedite the planning for a transition and for strengthening AMIS in the interim. Since then, UNMIS and AMIS have held regular meetings in both Addis, Khartoum, and Fasher. Together we have decided, without prejudice to a final decision on a transition, to streamline and intensify our cooperation at all levels.
The Government of Sudan, when approached by the United Nations in March and later again in April, asked that the consultations on a possible role for the UN with regard to peacekeeping in Darfur, start after a peace agreement was reached. Now that the DPA has been signed, these consultations should start as soon as possible. The next step in terms of transition planning is a joint AU/UN technical assessment mission. The Secretary General of United Nations has informed President Bashir that such a mission could commence already this week. The joint assessment would have to focus, after consultations with the Government of Sudan, the other parties and the AU, on the implementation of the peace agreement on two key tasks:
* One, identify priority areas for strengthening AMIS, and
* Two, taking forward on a contingency basis, field-level planning for a transition, without prejudice to any future decisions of the Government of Sudan, the AU and the UN.
Once again, Mr. Chairman, the DPA is a major achievement. However, like many similar significant achievements, the difference between whether it is counted as yet another failed agreement, or as the agreement that ended the suffering in Darfur, will depend entirely on the way in which it is implemented. The UN stands ready to work with the AU to address this challenge to secure a just and lasting peace in Darfur. The DPA is complementary to the CPA. Together with an end to the conflict in the East and with the full fledged functioning of an all inclusive Constitution, peace in Sudan can be made irreversible and sustainable.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.