ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY GENERAL IN
, 10 - 11 April NORWAY
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane arrived in
on Sunday evening, 10 April, where they had a private dinner with Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and his wife. Oslo
On Monday morning, he met with the Norwegian Minister of International Development, Hilde Frafjord Johnson. They discussed the prospects for achieving the $2.6 billion pledging goal of the Oslo Donors’ Conference on the
and, even more importantly, ways of actually collecting the amounts pledged. The Secretary General emphasized that the contributions should be for the entire country. Sudan
He then met jointly with the heads of the Sudanese delegations, Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/A, Dr. John Garang. He urged both parties to cooperate fully with the UN Security Council resolutions on the
, expressing some concern about slippage in the timetable for implementing the peace accord. He also said that the clock was ticking on the deadline for concluding an agreement with the United Nations regarding the deployment of UN peacekeepers to the country. Sudan
He deplored the continuing violence in the
Darfurregion and reiterated that a political solution is the only way to end that conflict. Both principals assured the Secretary-General that any slippage in the peace timeline was not the result of bad faith. They described their mutual efforts to implement the agreement, emphasizing the importance of working together.
The Secretary General then had an audience with Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway.
The Queen, the Prime Minister and the Secretary-General then attended the opening of the Oslo Conference. The Secretary-General told the gathered delegates that “Darfur must not become an excuse for hesitant or piecemeal support for the recovery of the rest of Sudan –- any more than sustaining the peace in the south can be an excuse for failing to rescue the people of Darfur. The stakes are too high for us not to seize this opportunity. I urge Member States to bear in mind past experience”.
He went on, “The late response to our appeal is already affecting millions who depend on our support. In
Darfur, food rations for hundreds of thousands of displaced are being cut. In the South, we will run out of food for 2 million people within a matter of weeks ... If ever there was a time for donors to get off the fence, it is surely today.”
“Now I look to all of you to help ensure that the peace nascent in parts of
can take hold in the country as a whole”, he concluded. “All the people of Sudan want clean water, food for their families, schools for their children, proper health care, and the prospect of development. They have earned this peace. We should not fail them.” (See Press Release SG/SM/9812-AFR/1137 of 11 April.) Sudan
Following the morning session of the Conference, the Secretary-General held two bilateral meetings.
The first was with
’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ichiro Aisawa, with whom he discussed the Sudanese peace process and UN reform. Japan
The second was with
’s Development Minister, Jean-Louis Schiltz, representing the European Union. Luxembourg
The Secretary General and Prime Minister Bondevik then gave a press conference. In his opening comments, the Secretary-General said that he hoped that the donors’ conference would cover the whole of the
. “I think we should also keep an eye on Darfur”, he said, mentioning that the United Nations was still about a billion dollars short on pledges made earlier this year for humanitarian assistance to that region. Sudan
Asked what he had discussed earlier that day with the Sudanese Vice-President, the Secretary-General mentioned the need for the Government to get the Janjaweed militia under control, the importance of accelerating the peace process and the Security Council sanctions resolution aimed at ending impunity in the
A journalist then asked about the tendency of governments not to honour their pledges of assistance, and the Secretary-General quipped, “Pledges are good, but cash is better.” He suggested that the United Nations should become more aggressive in following up with donors to remind them to make good on their pledges or perhaps by issuing periodic reports on who has paid and who has not.
He was then asked if he agreed that stronger security measures are needed for the people of
Darfur, and he replied, “A hundred per cent. I agree with that, and that’s what we’re trying to work for.”
After the press conference, the Secretary General left
to return to Oslo . New York
* *** *